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Syllabus Guidelines for TAs as Primary Instructors. David Royse, Ph.D. College of Social Work . University Senate Syllabi Guidelines (These are mandatory). When preparing your syllabi, always refer to the checklist found at

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Syllabus guidelines for tas as primary instructors

Syllabus Guidelines for TAs as Primary Instructors

David Royse, Ph.D.

College of Social Work

University senate syllabi guidelines these are mandatory
University Senate Syllabi Guidelines (These are mandatory)

When preparing your syllabi, always refer to the checklist found at


The guidelines are also found in your handbook

Part 1 of the guidelines general course information
Part 1 of the Guidelines:General Course Information

  • Full and accurate title of the course

  • Departmental and college prefix

  • Course prefix, number, and section number

  • Scheduled meeting days(s), time, and place

Problems in part 1
Problems in Part 1:

  • Does this title look “full and accurate?”

  • Is there a college identifier?

  • Is there a section number?

  • When does the course meet? Where?

Part 2 guidelines instructor contact information
Part 2: GuidelinesInstructor Contact Information

  • Instructor Name

  • Preferred method for reaching instructor

  • Office phone number

  • Office address

  • UK email address

  • Office hours; is an appointment necessary?

Problems for the consumer
Problems for the Consumer

  • Who is teaching the course?

  • How do I reach the instructor when I have a problem or question?

  • Can I talk to the instructor (i.e. phone)?

  • Should I email?

  • Where do I meet the instructor outside of class?

  • When is he/she in the office?

No need to overdo it
No need to overdo it

Jim Disclosall, Instructor

Office B-1 Funkhouser

Hours: Monday midnight to 3:00 am, Tuesday 8:12 to 8:25,

Wednesday 1:00 to 3:00, Friday after 12 p.m.

(I Iike to sleep late on Fridays)

Phone: 323-5676 (office) 276-2345 (home)

Cell: 313-0212 Email:

Alice’s place: 398-8888 (weekends, and Tue/Thurs nights)

My Mom’s: 513-3951 (she’ll always know where I am)

Facebook and Twitter in process

Part 3 of guidelines course description requirements
Part 3 of Guidelines:Course Description Requirements

  • Overview of course (from the UK Bulletin)*

  • Course goals/objectives

  • Student learning outcomes/competencies

  • Required materials (books, lab materials, etc.)

  • Components that contribute to final grade

  • Tentative course schedule that identifies topics, examinations, and assignment due dates, etc.

    *Longer descriptions/overviews can be inserted but should not replace or be at odds with the official one

Part 3 of guidelines course description requirements cont
Part 3 of Guidelines:Course Description Requirements Cont.

The syllabus also needs:

  • Final examination (date, time, location, duration)

  • Numerical grading scale and its relationship to letter grades.*

    *Remember: grad students cannot be awarded “D” grades in 400G, 500, 600, and 700 level courses.

Problems for the consumer1
Problems for the Consumer

  • Did you see a course description?

  • Were there goals and objectives?

    (What is the difference between a goal and an objective?)

  • Are the objectives equal to student learning outcomes?

  • Do we have a sense the instructor will be assessing competencies?

As a student consumer
As a Student-Consumer

  • Do the “Activities” give you enough information about what you’ll be doing and when?

  • Do you know what chapters or articles you will need to read?

  • Has a textbook been mentioned yet?

Syllabus guidelines for tas as primary instructors

  • How many tests will there be? When are they scheduled?

  • What proportion of my grade will come from tests?

  • What is a “problem notebook?” What part of my

    grade will it be? When do I need to submit it by? Is it electronic or paper?

  • How else will I be graded?

  • Does good attendance count for anything?

Syllabus guidelines for tas as primary instructors

Does this new information help any at all?

Are these learning outcomes?

Syllabus guidelines for tas as primary instructors

  • In a nut shell, the instructor was

  • vague

  • avoided any specificity

  • No indication of what topic would occur on what week,

  • how the student could prepare,

  • or how the grade components would come together.

Syllabus guidelines for tas as primary instructors

If you have looked at the Syllabi Guidelines, can you think of anything else that ought to be posted?

Syllabus guidelines for tas as primary instructors

Undergraduates at UK must be provided with a of anything else that ought to be posted?Midterm Grade based on their performance in the first half of the semester.

Policies to include on the syllabus
Policies to Include on the Syllabus of anything else that ought to be posted?

  • Attendance: Is it important to you? If so, you ought to take attendance each class meeting and deduct points from those with poor attendance.

Example of a good attendance policy
Example of a good attendance policy of anything else that ought to be posted?

Unexcused absences will result in a loss of 5 participation points per absence. Please refer to “Student Rights & Responsibilities” ( for definition of excused absences.Students missing any graded work due to an excused absence bear the responsibility of informing the Instructor about the excused absence within one week following the absence, and for making up missed work.

What does this policy require in the syllabus?

(see also slide # 30 for excused absences)

Syllabus guidelines for tas as primary instructors

It requires attendance to be included in the grading components. For example,

Attendance/participation= 50 points

Assignments=125 points

Final Exam= 200 points

Midterm Exam=100 points

Presentation= 25 points

Suggestion: components. For example,

You might want to elaborate your “making up missed work” policy. For instance, is a missed exam arranged at your convenience (e.g., 2 weeks out) at the student’s convenience, within a week, or during Final Exam Week? Must all missed assignments be due within one week, etc ?

Another important provision of sr 5 2 4 2
Another important provision of components. For example,SR

“If attendance is required by the class policies elaborated in the syllabus or serves as a criterion for a grade in a course, and if a student has excused absences in excess of one-fifth of the class contact hours for that course, a student shall have the right to petition for a "W", and the Instructor of Record may require the student to petition for a "W" or take an "I" in the course.”

Verification of absences sr 5 2 42
Verification of Absences SR 5.2.42 components. For example,

  • Illness & Death:The Instructor of Record shall have the right to request appropriate verification.{You may ask in all 4 cases!}

  • Varsity sports, official off-campus excursions of educ. units, etc:the student must notify the Instructor prior to the occurrence of such absences, but in no case shall such notification occur more than one week after the absence. Instructors may request formal notification from appropriate university personnel to document the student's participation in such trips.

  • Religious Holidays:

    Students are responsible for notifying the Instructor of Record in writing of anticipated absences due to their observance of such holidays no later than the last day for adding a class.

Examples of non excused absences
Examples of Non-excused absences components. For example,

  • Work.

  • Alarm didn’t go off on time.

  • Couldn’t find a parking spot.

  • Car broke down.

  • Lack of childcare or other child related absence.

  • Didn’t feel well, but did NOT go to a doctor.

  • Unpleasant weather which did not result in school or road closure or prolonged disruption of public transportation.

  • Test or assignment in another class.

Example of a lateness policy
Example of a Lateness Policy components. For example,

Assignments must be submitted by the date and time listed on the assignment. There will be a 10% deduction for homework that is up to 24 hours late, and a 20% deduction for homework that is 24-48 hours late. I will not accept any homework that is more than 48 hours late.

Plan your time carefully; don’t wait until the last minute to begin an assignment. Starting early will give you ample time to ask questions and obtain assistance if needed.

Second late policy example
Second Late Policy Example components. For example,

Late work will be penalized 10% per day (with the “late clock” beginning at class time rather than the end of the workday), until the graded assignment has been handed back to the class; at that point, late work will not be accepted. Excuses such as “I overslept” or “The printer wasn’t working” will not exempt you from late penalties.

Example of an academic integrity policy
Example of an Academic Integrity Policy components. For example,

It is expected that students will refrain from plagiarism and cheating. Plagiarism and cheating are serious breaches of academic conduct. Each student is advised to understand the University’s policies, how violations of academic integrity policy are defined, the penalties, as well as the disposition of these offenses as explained in the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities at:


Avoiding a charge of plagiarism is critical in a course that requires you to summarize and document the written work of others.

Second example of academic integrity policy
Second Example of components. For example,Academic Integrity Policy

All academic work, written or otherwise, submitted by students to their instructors or other academic supervisors, is expected to be the result of their own thought, research, or self-expression (University Senate 6.3.1). Offenses are considered academic felonies. Please understand the penalties for cheating and plagiarism by reviewing UK’s policies at

Additional details to consider adding
Additional Details to Consider Adding components. For example,

If you plagiarize, your instructor will check with the Registrar to see if you have a previous academic offense.

If you have a previous academic offense, you will receive, at a minimum, a grade of E for the course. The maximum penalty could include an XE and suspension from the University, based upon the discretion of your instructor, the Dean of the College of Social Work and the Provost and the number and nature of offenses. Penalties will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

If this is your first offense, the instructor will – at a minimum:

a) impose a score of zero for the assignment, and b) write a “letter of warning” to the student, submitted to the Registrar’s office. This letter stays in the student’s file and is destroyed upon graduation if there are no subsequent offenses. You have the right to appeal and should contact the Academic Ombud to initiate this process.

Additional details to consider adding1
Additional Details to Consider Adding components. For example,

If you are unsure of the difference between plagiarism and paraphrasing, you ought to consult with your instructor or go to the examples at

Classroom behavior decorum and civility
Classroom Behavior, components. For example,Decorum, and Civility

“I have a strong commitment to diversity and the valuing of differences among members of our academic community. Academic discovery includes discussion and debate, and the right to respectfully disagree from time-to-time. Students have a right to voice reasoned opinions contrary to those offered by the instructor and/or other students (S.R. 6.1.2) but should do so respectfully and civilly. Disagreements and opinion statements that include attacks of a personal nature or statements degrading another on the basis of race, sex, religion, sexual orientation, age, national/regional origin or other irrelevant factors may affect one’s grade because they are unacceptable and do not contribute to a safe, productive learning environment.”

K. Badger SW 470 Syllabus

Other classroom policies
Other classroom policies? components. For example,

  • To limit distractions in the classroom, please turn off all cell phones and other electronic devices and store them during class. Please inform me if you are expecting an important phone call (e.g., a sick family member) and take the call in the hall.

  • Lap tops are permitted only for note-taking and other required activities. If used during class for other purposes (e.g., email, surfing the internet, etc) you will be asked to put your laptop away and leave it at home or stored during future classes.

Other class expectations
Other Class Expectations components. For example,

I expect that you will

  • Come to class having completed assigned readings and will be prepared to discuss them

  • Demonstrate an active interest in the topic being discussed by verbal and nonverbal behaviors

  • Not engage in side conversation with those around you

  • Involve others by listening, asking questions, and allowing space for others to contribute

  • Share relevant information from one’s knowledge base, work, or life experiences with classmates

  • Respect your colleagues and maintain confidentiality if information of a personal nature is shared in class.

Example of a disability policy
Example of a Disability Policy components. For example,

If you have a documented disability that requires academic accommodations, please see me as soon as possible during office hours or by appointment. In order to receive accommodations in this course, you must provide me with a Letter of Accommodation from the Disability Resource Center (Room 2, Alumni Gym, 257-2754. I will contact the DRC if needed to coordinate special testing accommodations, etc. You ought to claim any disability at the beginning of the semester. It is not retroactive and cannot change test grades, etc. after the fact.

Tips for success
Tips for Success components. For example,

The syllabus is a contract; therefore

1. Once posted/distributed don’t mess with it

2. Be specific: list the readings that will be assigned; don’t hide readings (“to be provided later”) and don’t spring big assignments on students (“25 page paper with 17 interviews due September 15”). Be transparent in your requirements & expectations.

3. List due dates and late penalties

4. Provide all the information needed/that you would want if you were a student in the course

Tips for success continued
Tips for Success Continued components. For example,

5. Compare your rough draft to the example given to you. Have you changed anything of substance (e.g., the course description, student learning outcomes the textbook)?

6. Show your polished draft to a senior faculty member, TA coordinator, your advisor, chair, or someone in a position to give you good feedback about the course.

7. Revise again if necessary.

Can you depart from the syllabus
Can You Depart from the Syllabus? components. For example,


  • If you get sick and fall behind; a death/funeral

  • Inclement weather

  • Your baby comes sooner than expected

  • You made a big mistake or miscalculation (e.g., the points from assignments = 370 instead of the 730 that you had intended)

  • Syllabus is twice as demanding as all other sections of the course and complaints are mounting

Syllabus guidelines for tas as primary instructors

Normally, students do not complain about having a components. For example,reduction in the number of quizzes, assignments, required readings, etc. However, a student who is trying to improve his/her grade might complain if he/she sees that there is a reduction in opportunities to improve his/her grade. Check it out with students before making changes; make sure everyone is okay with the planned change.

Can you add new rules to the syllabus
Can you add new rules to the syllabus? components. For example,

Yes. For example, you need to address a growing problem of students texting in class, incivility, improper use of laptops, etc. You might phrase this as “new guidelines for …” and post it in Blackboard. It doesn’t have to be a part of your syllabus.

I would not, however, add new readings, assignments, etc. But you could add a new reading if you also dropped one of the previous ones….and it is readily available with no new/unexpected costs, etc.

Valuable resource
Valuable Resource components. For example,

If you feel the need to make changes to a syllabus well into the semester, you might want to consult with your senior faculty/advisor, etc.

Or, you might want to check with the Academic Ombud 257-3737 (

Syllabus guidelines for tas as primary instructors

Questions that you might have? components. For example,