Syllabus Policy Guide

What policies should I include in my syllabus?

Have you ever worked on a syllabus and wondered, what policies should I incorporate? Is this important enough that I need to remind students to read? What are other instructors doing? Thanks to this quick guide, there’s no need to wonder anymore!

Through an analysis of hundreds of syllabi from more than 50 institutions of higher learning nationwide, including 4-year public, 4-year private, and 2-year community colleges, Simple Syllabus has compiled a comprehensive list of policies that were present in 10% or more of syllabi. See how often other instructors include policies and examples of the verbiage used by those institutions.

(please note, sample content is for illustrative purposes only; consult the content owner about the respective Intellectual Property rights of their content).

DID YOU KNOW?

84% of institutions reported having dealt with a student dispute regarding information contained within the syllabus. By including policies within syllabi, your institution can ensure that information was clearly and transparently articulated to students.

Attendance (76%)

The most commonly found policy in a syllabus, attendance policies outline student requirements for participation, whether in a physical classroom or digital learning experience. These policies will generally outline how often a student must attend a course and the consequences of not fulfilling that obligation.

Four Year Public
Four Year Private
Two Year Public

Example Policy

Students are expected to attend all courses and course activities for which they are registered. Any class meeting missed, regardless of cause, reduces the opportunity of learning and may adversely affect a student’s achievement in the course. Students are required to attend at least 90% of the class meetings in order to receive credit for the course. An accurate record of attendance will be kept for each course. If a student misses one­ third or more of a class session, the student will be counted absent. Three tardies will count as one absence. Leaving early is the same as being tardy.

If a student misses a class, it is THEIR responsibility to make up the material missed.

Institution Source: Palm Beach State College
URL: https://pbsc.simplesyllabus.com/syllabus-library

Example Policy

The department abides by the following policy as stated in the College Catalogue:

“Students are expected to attend all of their classes and scheduled course events in any semester or January term and are responsible for any work missed. Failure to attend can lead to a warning, grading penalties, and/or dismissal from the course by the instructor with a failing grade.”

The department also adheres to the College’s Policies for Missed Class Time Due to Athletic Contests.
Only valid medical excuses, documented personal catastrophes (such as a death in the family), and
religious observances will be accepted as reasons not to attend class, take an exam, or turn in a paper or
other assignment as scheduled. If you are, for legitimate reasons, unable to take an exam or turn in an
assignment when it is scheduled, you should notify me in advance. Having a lot of work, several exams/
papers due, being unprepared, or having conflicting travel arrangements are not acceptable excuses.

Institution Source: Colby College
URL: http://www.colby.edu/provost/wp-content/uploads/sites/121/2018/03/Syllabus-Elements-and-Policy-Language_2.21.18.pdf

Example Policy

All students are expected to attend punctually every scheduled meeting of each course in which they are
registered. Attendance and lateness policies and sanctions are to be determined by the instructor for each section of each course. These will be established in writing on the individual course outline. Attendance will be kept by the instructor for administrative and counseling purposes.

Institution Source: Bergen Community College
URL: https://bergen.edu/academics/syllabi-central/

Honor Code/ Academic Dishonesty/ Integrity (74%)

One of the most common types of policies included within a class syllabus focuses on a student’s responsibility to approach their academics with integrity. Common components include clauses on plagiarism and expected conduct towards other students and instructors.

Four Year Public
Four Year Private
Two Year Public

Example Policy

Students who violate University rules on scholastic dishonesty are subject to disciplinary penalties, including the possibility of failure in the course and/or dismissal from the University. Since such dishonesty harms the individual, all students and the integrity of the University, policies on scholastic dishonesty will be strictly enforced. For further information, please visit the Office of Student Conduct and Academic Integrity website.

Institution Source: The University of Texas, Austin
URL: https://facultyinnovate.utexas.edu/effective-syllabus

Example Policy

DePaul University is a learning community that fosters the pursuit of knowledge and the transmission of ideas within a context that emphasizes a sense of responsibility for oneself, for others and for society at large. Violations of academic integrity, in any of their forms, are, therefore, detrimental to the values of DePaul, to the students’ own development as responsible members of society, and to the pursuit of knowledge and the transmission of ideas. Violations include but are not limited to the following categories: cheating; plagiarism; fabrication; falsification or sabotage of research data; destruction or misuse of the university’s academic resources; alteration or falsification of academic records; and academic misconduct. Conduct that is punishable under the Academic Integrity Policy could result in additional disciplinary actions by other university officials and possible civil or criminal prosecution. Please refer to your Student Handbook or visit Academic Integrity at DePaul University (http://academicintegrity.depaul.edu) for further details.

Institution Source: DePaul University
URL: https://resources.depaul.edu/teaching-commons/teaching-guides/course-design/Pages/syllabuses.aspx#samples

Example Policy

Academic dishonesty will result in a penalty ranging from a zero on that assignment to expulsion from the class with an E grade – no exceptions. Plagiarism will not be tolerated. Plagiarism includes using someone else’s exact words, or even their ideas but not their exact words, without proper citation. It is a good rule of thumb that if you did not know the information before you started the assignment, you must cite your source. If you are still unsure of how to cite, ask the instructor or visit the MCC Writing Center.

Institution Source: Montcalm Community College
URL: https://montcalm.simplesyllabus.com/syllabus-library

Disability (ADA Statement) (70%)

Syllabi that include an ADA Statement typically outline the services available to students with disabilities and how to request those resources. Most institutions will have a formal policy already documented that instructors can utilize within their syllabus.

Four Year Public
Four Year Private
Two Year Public

Example Policy

Please notify your instructor of any modification/adaptation you may require to accommodate a disability-related need. You may find out more information on the Services for Students with Disabilities website.

Institution Source: The University of Texas, Austin
URL: https://facultyinnovate.utexas.edu/effective-syllabus

Example Policy

If you are a student with a disability or disabling condition, or if you think you may have a disability, please contact USF Student Disability Services (SDS) at (415) 422-2613 within the first week of class, or immediately upon onset of disability, to speak with a disability specialist. If you are determined eligible for reasonable accommodations, please meet with your disability specialist so they can arrange to have your accommodation letter sent to me, and we will discuss your needs for this course. For more information, visit http://www.usfca.edu/sds.

Institution Source: University of San Francisco
URL: https://myusf.usfca.edu/arts-sciences/faculty-resources/curriculum/syllabi/policies-legal-d

Example Policy

Any student who needs an accommodation due to a disability should make an appointment to see me during my office hours. In order to receive accom­modations, a letter from Disability Support Services (G-SA 189; R-CB 122; or TP/SS-ST 122) will be needed. Any student who may need assistance in the event of an emergency evac­uation must identify to the Disability Support Services Office; guidelines for emergency evacuations for individuals with disabilities are found at: www.montgomerycollege.edu/dss.

Institution Source: Montgomery College
URL: https://cms.montgomerycollege.edu/edu/department.aspx?id=32150

Personal Technology (42%)

Present in almost half the syllabi analyzed, personal technology policies focus on the permitted use of technology within the classroom. Are laptops and tablets recommended for note taking? Almost all instances of a personal technology policy highlight that cell phones should not be used during class.

Four Year Public
Four Year Private
Two Year Public

Example Policy

Per university policy and classroom etiquette; mobile phones, iPods, etc. must be silenced during all classroom and lab lectures. Those not heeding this rule will be asked to leave the classroom/lab immediately so as to not disrupt the learning environment. Please arrive on time for all class meetings. Students who habitually disturb the class by talking, arriving late, etc., and have been warned may suffer a reduction in their final class grade.

Institution Source: University of South Florida
URL: https://www.usf.edu/atle/teaching/syllabus.aspx

Example Policy

The instructor reserves the right to lay out set guidelines for the use of all electronic devices in class (phones, laptops, calculators, etc.)

The use of electronic or mobile devices during quizzes or exams is prohibited.

Institution Source: Southwestern Assemblies of God University
URL: https://sagu.simplesyllabus.com/syllabus-library

Example Policy

Students are required to silence all electronic devices (e.g., pagers, cellular phones, etc.) when in classrooms, laboratories and the library.

Institution Source: Alamo Colleges

Late Work (35%)

Late work policies help provide transparency and prevent future student disputes by outlining the process for handling late work upfront. Most late work policies will define the timeframe by which assignments are considered timely or late, and the consequences that will result from late submissions.

Four Year Public
Four Year Private
Two Year Public

Example Policy

Be sure to pay close attention to deadlines—there will be no make up assignments or quizzes, or late work accepted without a serious and compelling reason and instructor approval.

Institution Source: CSU, Channel Islands
URL: https://www.csuci.edu/ati/im/faculty/documents/sample-syllabus.doc

Example Policy

Unless otherwise specified, each lab will be due at 10 PM on Tuesday night of the week following the start of the lab assignment. Late handins are strongly discouraged. At your discretion, you can use up to two free “late passes”, which grant you an additional two days to complete a lab assignment. Please make sure you let the lab instructor know in advance (i.e., before the lab deadline) when you plan on using your late passes.

Otherwise, late handins will be penalized 50% if handed in up to 24 hours late. Handins are considered late if they are turned in one minute or more after the assignment deadline. After 24 hours, late handins will not be graded.

As you will learn in the first lab, you can turn in your assignment multiple times, even if you only have part of the assignment finished. Please make it a habit to turn in your assignment after each part is completed so that you are insured to receive partial credit, just in case you run into any problems turning the entire assignment in on time.

Institution Source: Oberlin College

Example Policy

Projects and discussions are due on specific dates (this is NOT a correspondence course to be completed when convenient). Late work will NOT be accepted unless there are extenuating circumstances and it will be up to the instructor to determine whether or not to accept the assignment. Should you run into an instance where your work will be late (again, only in dire emergencies) you should contact the instructor as soon as possible to determine if the work will be accepted.

Institution Source: Thomas Nelson Community College
URL: https://tncc.edu/blackboard/docs/TNCC_Syllabus_Template_rev_10.doc

Communication (34%)

Policies outlining best practices for communication between students and instructors have become fairly common amongst syllabi. These statements will oftentimes explain which methods should be used for official communication and the expectations of professionalism.

Four Year Public
Four Year Private
Two Year Public

Example Policy

All students should be familiar with the University’s official e-mail student notification policy. It is the student’s responsibility to keep the University informed as to changes in his or her e-mail address. Students are expected to check e-mail on a frequent and regular basis in order to stay current with University-related communications, recognizing that certain communications may be time-critical. The complete text of this policy and instructions for updating your e-mail address are available at [URL] .

Institution Source: The University of Texas, Austin
URL: https://facultyinnovate.utexas.edu/effective-syllabus

Example Policy

The university requests that you require students to activate their PLU e-mail accounts and that you
contact them electronically through that account only. Important communications are sent to students
only via e-mail and when faculty members also insist on communicating with students electronically
through their PLU e-mail addresses it reinforces this system of university-wide communication.

Institution Source: Pacific Lutheran University
URL: https://www.plu.edu/nsci/wp-content/uploads/sites/53/2014/09/suggested-syllabi-statements.pdf

Example Policy

It is recommended that you check his or her account routinely for official communi­cation or as directed by your instructor(s). Some items you may find there are: course announcements, invoices, important admis­sion/registration information, waitlist status. To check your e-mail, log into your MyMC online account and locate the e-mail icon in the upper right hand corner of the page.

Institution Source: Montgomery College
URL: https://cms.montgomerycollege.edu/edu/department.aspx?id=32150

Drop Course (19%)

Syllabus statements on dropping a course will typically include details on the specific logistics of removing a course enrollment from a student’s record and the deadlines a student has to complete them without being financially or academically responsible.

Four Year Public
Four Year Private
Two Year Public

Example Policy

It is the student’s responsibility to understand when they need to consider disenrolling from a course. Refer to the Channel Islands Course Schedule for dates and deadlines for registration. After this period, a serious and compelling reason is required to drop from the course.

Institution Source: CSU, Channel Islands
URL: https://www.csuci.edu/ati/im/faculty/documents/sample-syllabus.doc

Example Policy

Students may officially drop one or all courses prior to the 75 percent tuition refund deadline of each semester (“drop period”) without the enrollment being shown on the transcript. After the close of the drop period and prior to the 60 percent date in the semester, students may officially withdraw from one or all courses with a grade of W. To initiate an official withdrawal, complete an electronic withdrawal form by logging in to the . Use your WebAdvisor/Self-Service username and password to log in to the system. It is best to use Chrome, Firefox, or Safari to access the forms.

Institution Source: Durham College

Example Policy

Occasionally, students need to withdraw from a course. Sending an email to the instructor is not sufficient for withdrawing from this class. To withdraw you must contact enrollment services, complete the proper paperwork (including instructor’s signature), and return the completed paperwork to enrollment services before the withdrawal deadline for this class: May 4th at 4 PM. It is usually better to withdraw from a course than receive a failing grade. However, you must check with your funding source before withdrawing from a class.

Institution Source: Montcalm Community College
URL: https://montcalm.simplesyllabus.com/syllabus-library

Change Syllabus (19%)

With nearly 84% of institutions reporting student disputes regarding content within the syllabus, a policy most instructors and schools should consider incorporating into syllabi is a “subject to change” statement. In so doing, it sets the expectation that a class can evolve throughout the semester based on a variety of factors.

Four Year Public
Four Year Private
Two Year Public

Example Policy

Disclaimer: This syllabus is subject to change.

Institution Source: Purdue University
URL: https://www.purdue.edu/cie/index.html

Example Policy

The faculty member reserves the right to make changes to this published syllabus if it is in the best interest of the educational development of this class. Any such changes will be announced as soon as possible and, insofar as practical, after consultation with the whole class.

Institution Source: Principia College
URL: https://principiacollege.simplesyllabus.com/syllabus-library

Example Policy

This syllabus is representative of materials that will be covered in this class; it is not a contract between the student and the institution. It is subject to change without notice. Any potential exceptions to stated policies and requirements will be addressed on an individual basis, and only for reasons that meet specific requirements. If you have any problems related to this class, please feel free to discuss them with me.

Institution Source: Des Moines Area Community College
URL: https://www.dmacc.edu/urban/sac/Documents/201202%20SAC%20Experience%20Syllabus.pdf

Emergency/ Emergency Response (15%)

Emergency response statements help outline the procedures for how the institution will respond and communicate to the campus community in a crisis or catastrophic event. Oftentimes they will also explain how to report an incident and what students should do in the event of a crisis to promote safety.

Four Year Public
Four Year Private
Two Year Public

Example Policy

In the event of an emergency, it may be necessary for USF to suspend normal operations. During this time, USF may opt to continue delivery of instruction through methods that include but are not limited to: Canvas, Elluminate, Skype, and email messaging and/or an alternate schedule. It’s the responsibility of the student to monitor the Canvas site for each class for course specific communication, and the main USF, college, and department websites, emails, and MoBull messages for important general information.

Institution Source: University of South Florida
URL: https://www.usf.edu/atle/teaching/syllabus.aspx

Example Policy

Take your text and a copy of the syllabus home with you in the event of a college closure. Continue with readings and assignments according to the course schedule; some assignments may be posted on Blackboard or sent to you via e-mail. If possible, online office hours will be established. Information regarding the status of the College’s status and reopening schedule may be monitored on the Sienna website.

Institution Source: Sienna College
URL: https://community.siena.edu/academic-affairs/information-technology-services/academic-technology/upload-your-syllabus

Example Policy

You may review emergency services and resources at the GRCC Campus Police website (www.grcc.edu/campuspolice). Campus Police can be reached using the ‘Code 2’ button on any campus phone or by dialing x4911 on campus or (616) 234-4911 off campus. Dial 911 for off campus emergencies.

Institution Source: Grand Rapids Community College
URL: https://www.grcc.edu/provost/facultyresources/syllabustemplate

Diversity Statement (13%)

One way some institutions and instructors work to make all students feel welcome is by including a statement affirming the school’s commitment to maintaining diversity among the student body and the classroom in the syllabus.

Four Year Public
Four Year Private
Two Year Public

Example Policy

Purdue University is committed to maintaining a community which recognizes and values the inherent worth and dignity of every person; fosters tolerance, sensitivity, understanding, and mutual respect among its members; and encourages each individual to strive to reach his or her own potential. In pursuit of its goal of academic excellence, the University seeks to develop and nurture diversity. The University believes that diversity among its many members strengthens the institution, stimulates creativity, promotes the exchange of ideas, and enriches campus life.

Purdue University views, evaluates, and treats all persons in any University related activity or circumstance in which they may be involved, solely as individuals on the basis of their own personal abilities, qualifications, and other relevant characteristics.

Institution Source: Purdue University
URL: https://www.purdue.edu/cie/index.html

Example Policy

Stonehill College embraces the diversity of students, faculty, and staff, honors the inherent dignity of each individual, and welcomes their unique cultural and religious experiences, beliefs, and perspectives. We all benefit from a diverse living and learning environment, and the sharing of differences in ideas, experiences, and beliefs help us shape our own perspectives. Course content and campus discussions will heighten your awareness to these differences.

There are many resources for anyone seeking support or with questions about diversity and inclusion at Stonehill. Resources are infused throughout the Mission Division, Academic Affairs, and Student Affairs. If you’d like more information on how to get connected to resources, the Office of Intercultural Affairs is a good first stop: Location: Duffy 149, Phone: 508-565-1409, Email: diversity@stonehill.edu.

If you are a witness to or experience an act of bias at Stonehill, you may submit a bias incident report online or on the Stonehill App. If you would like to learn more on bias incident prevention and response, or submit a report please visit: http://www.stonehill.edu/offices-services/intercultural-affairs/bias-response-protocol/

Institution Source: Stonehill College
URL: https://www.stonehill.edu/offices-services/ctl/teaching-resources/suggested-syllabus-statements/

Example Policy

Hillsborough Community College is an equal access/equal opportunity employer that makes employment and education-related decisions without regard to race, color, gender, religion, national origin, age, disability, sexual orientation, marital status or any other bias that is or may be prohibited by laws. In addition, the college does not discriminate in employment practices or in the admission and treatment of students. HCC is committed to equitable treatment for all students and employees and to a learning and working environment free of discrimination and harassment for current as well as future students and employees. The college provides equal educational opportunities for qualified individuals with disabilities and complies with, as well as, supports the Americans with Disabilities Act. HCC’s Equity Officer ensures compliance with federal and state laws prohibiting discrimination and sexual harassment.

Institution Source: Hillsborough County Community College
URL: https://www.hccfl.edu/media/3476897/hcc%20syllabus%20template.doc

Title IX (10%)

Public institutions subject to Title IX will sometimes include a statement in the syllabus explaining the benefits and protections afforded to students under Title IX and where students can seek help or resources related to violations.

Four Year Public
Four Year Private
Two Year Public

Example Policy

If, at any time during this course, I happen to be made aware that a student may have been the victim of sexual misconduct (including sexual harassment, sexual violence, domestic/dating violence, or stalking), I am obligated to inform the university’s Title IX Coordinator. The university needs to know information about such incidents in order to offer resources to victims and to ensure a safe campus environment for everyone. The Title IX Coordinator will decide if the incident should be examined further. If such a situation is disclosed to me in class, in a paper assignment, or in office hours, I promise to protect your privacy–I will not disclose the incident to anyone but the Title IX Coordinator. For more information on Sexual Misconduct policies, where to get help, and how to reporting information, please refer to www.udel.edu/sexualmisconduct. At UD, we provide 24-hour crisis assistance and victim advocacy and counseling. Contact 302-831-1001, UD Helpline 24/7/365, to get in touch with a sexual offense support advocate.

For information on various places you can turn for help, more information on Sexual Misconduct policies, where to get help, and reporting information please refer to www.udel.edu/sexualmisconduct

Institution Source: University of Delaware
URL: https://ctal.udel.edu/syllabus-template/

Example Policy

Colby College prohibits and will not tolerate sexual misconduct or gender-based discrimination of any
kind. Colby is legally obligated to investigate sexual misconduct (including, but not limited to, sexual
assault and sexual harassment) and other specific forms of behavior that violate federal and state laws
(Title IX and Title VII, and the Maine Human Rights Act). Such behavior also requires the College to
fulfill certain obligations under two other federal laws, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) and
the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Statistics Act (Clery Act).

To learn more about what constitutes sexual misconduct or to report an incident, see:
www.colby.edu/studentlife/handbook-section/f-sexualmisconduct/.

If you wish to speak confidentially about an incident of sexual misconduct, you may contact:
   ● Counseling Center: 207-859-4490
   ● Gender and Sexual Diversity Program: Director Emily Schusterbauer (eeschust@colby.edu/ 207-
859-4093)
   ● Office of Religious & Spiritual Life: 207-859-4272
      ○ Dean of Religious & Spiritual Life, Kurt Nelson (kdnelson@colby.edu)
      ○ Jewish Chaplain, Erica Asch (elsasch@colby.edu)
      ○ Catholic Campus Minister, Charles Demm (cademm@colby.edu)

Students should be aware that faculty members are considered “responsible employees”; as such, if you
disclose an incident of sexual misconduct to a faculty member, they have an obligation to report it to
Colby’s Title IX Coordinator. “Disclosure” may include communication in-person, via email/phone/text,
or through class assignments.

Institution Source: Colby College
URL: http://www.colby.edu/provost/wp-content/uploads/sites/121/2018/03/Syllabus-Elements-and-Policy-Language_2.21.18.pdf

Example Policy

Information and policy regarding Title IX, Civil Rights Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation can be found in Board Policy H.1.2.

Institution Source: Alamo Colleges

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