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Syllabus Checklist/Statements

Syllabus Checklist/Statements

Fall 2021 Recommended Syllabus Statement

“During this pandemic, it is extremely important that you abide by the public health regulations , the University of Pittsburgh’s health standards and guidelines, and Pitt’s Health Rules. These rules have been developed to protect the health and safety of all of us.  Universal face covering is required in all classrooms and in every building on campus, without exceptions, regardless of vaccination status. This means you must wear a face covering that properly covers your nose and mouth when you are in the classroom. If you do not comply, you will be asked to leave class.  It is your responsibility have the required face covering when entering a university building or classroom. For the most up-to-date information and guidance, please visit coronavirus.pitt.edu and check your Pitt email for updates before each class.

If you are required to isolate or quarantine, become sick, or are unable to come to class, contact me as soon as possible to discuss arrangements.”

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.

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Required Syllabus Statements

Academic Integrity

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.

To learn more about Academic Integrity, visit the Academic Integrity Guide for an overview of the topic. For hands- on practice, complete the Understanding and Avoiding Plagiarism tutorial.

Disability Services

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, drsrecep@pitt.edu, (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.

Accessibility

The Canvas LMS platform was built using the most modern HTML and CSS technologies, and is committed to W3C’s Web Accessibility Initiative and Section 508 guidelines. Specific details regarding individual feature compliance are documented and updated regularly.

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.

From the Gender, Sexuality, & Women’s Studies Program.

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 titleixcoordinator@pitt.edu. 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).

Email Communication

Each student is issued a University e-mail address (username@pitt.edu) 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

Below are two examples of gender inclusive language statements used in syllabi today. Schools and departments may adapt these examples for use in their respective syllabi as appropriate.

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.

Source: Gender, Sexuality, & Women’s Studies Program


Language is gender-inclusive and non-sexist when we use words that affirm and respect how people describe, express, and experience their gender.  Gender-inclusive/non-sexist language acknowledges people of all genders (for example, first year student versus freshman, chair versus chairman, humankind versus mankind, everyone versus ladies and gentlemen, etc.).  It also affirms non-binary gender identifications, and recognizes both gender identity and expression.  Identities including trans, intersex, and genderqueer reflect personal descriptions, expressions, and experiences.  Just as sexist language excludes women’s experiences, gendered language excludes the experiences of individuals whose identifies may not fit the gender binary, and/or who may not identify with the sex they were assigned at birth.  Students, faculty, and staff have the right to control their own identity and to be referred to by the name and pronouns with which they identify.  People also have the right to maintain their privacy regarding information they do not wish to share about their identities, including gender identity and pronouns.

Source: School of Social Work

Health and Safety Statement

During this pandemic, it is extremely important that you abide by the public health regulations , the University of Pittsburgh’s health standards and guidelines, and Pitt’s Health Rules. These rules have been developed to protect the health and safety of all of us.  Universal face covering is required in all classrooms and in every building on campus, without exceptions, regardless of vaccination status. This means you must wear a face covering that properly covers your nose and mouth when you are in the classroom. If you do not comply, you will be asked to leave class.  It is your responsibility have the required face covering when entering a university building or classroom. For the most up-to-date information and guidance, please visit coronavirus.pitt.edu and check your Pitt email for updates before each class.

If you are required to isolate or quarantine, become sick, or are unable to come to class, contact me as soon as possible to discuss arrangements.

Regional Campus Policies

Information will be updated soon.

Religious Observances

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

Sexual Misconduct, Required Reporting, and Title IX

The University is committed to combating sexual misconduct. As a result, you should know that University faculty and staff members are required to report any instances of sexual misconduct, including harassment and sexual violence, to the University’s Title IX office.  What this means is that as your professor, I am required to report any incidents of sexual misconduct that are directly reported to me, or of which I am somehow made aware.  After a report is made, you will be contacted by the Title IX Office for opportunities for support and options for proceeding.

For additional information, please visit the full syllabus statement on the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion webpage.

From the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

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.

From a California State University course: Race, Racism and Critical Thinking.

Your Well-being Matters

College/Graduate school can be an exciting and challenging time for students. Taking time to maintain your well-being and seek appropriate support can help you achieve your goals and lead a fulfilling life. 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. You are encouraged to visit Thrive@Pitt to learn more about well-being and the many campus resources available to help you thrive. 

 

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. 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.

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?

Recommended Syllabus Content

Course Information

  • 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?

Assessment/Grading Information

  • 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

Course Statements

  • Required Statements [text below]
    • Academic integrity
    • Disabilities Services
  • Suggested Statements [text below]

Course Schedule

  • Topics
  • Homework with date/week
  • Assessments with date/week
  • Learning objectives or objective numbers (optional)

School/Department Requirements

  • School or department-specific syllabus requirements or guidelines

Additional (Optional) Information

  • Additional, optional syllabus statements
  • Teaching philosophy
  • Statement about course delivery or technology
  • Rubrics
  • “How to succeed in this course”
  • Helpful resources and/or FAQ
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