Crating a course syllabus

This resource on crafting a course syllabus includes a downloadable syllabus template with the standard components of a well-designed syllabus. Comments have been added to the template to help guide instructors through the design process and highlight key concepts and guiding questions to consider. To see the comments/annotations, please download the syllabus template, open it in Word, and review the comments added to various sections. Below, you will also find a list of university policies and descriptions of support services that can be included in your syllabus based on your preferences and the content of your course. Please note that this information is updated regularly as policies and resources are subject to change.  

As you are developing or revising your syllabus, consider that it should be a detailed and clear compilation of your course’s purpose, expectations, and policies, presented in a way that welcomes students into the learning process. Keep in mind that the syllabus is often the first impression that students get of you and your course. Thus, it sets the tone for the course and can play a critical role in establishing a sense of belonging and equity in the classroom. As you create your syllabus, ask yourself: What do I want to communicate to my students and how does my syllabus accomplish this? You should consider how everything from the language you use, to the order of your syllabus components, communicates your values and teaching style to your students.  For more information on syllabus design, our workshop on Creating an Annotated Syllabus provides an overview of the key components of a syllabus and their relative functions in conveying a teaching philosophy.  

CTRL has generated a list of class meeting dates for the current semesters at AU to help you put together your course schedule in your syllabus.  

  

University-Wide Policies

Fall 2021 COVID-19

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Optional. (Faculty, please edit for your needs)

As AU returns to in-person activities this fall, we must recognize the new challenges this return brings. Our success as a community relies on all of us committing to expectations outlined in the AU Forward Fall 2021 Health and Safety Plan as well as striving to maintain an inclusive learning environment.

Face coverings: In accordance with current AU policy and for everyone’s health and safety, students are required to wear face coverings at all times in the classroom. We have been instructed to refer any violations of this commonsense policy to the Dean of Students. If you are experiencing possible COVID-19 symptoms, do not come to class; instead, get a COVID test, contact the Dean of Students, and stay in your room.

Academic Integrity Code

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Standards of academic conduct are set forth in the university’s Academic Integrity Code. By registering for this course, students have acknowledged their awareness of the Academic Integrity Code and they are obliged to become familiar with their rights and responsibilities as defined by the Code. Violations of the Academic Integrity Code will not be treated lightly and disciplinary action will be taken should violations occur. This includes cheating, fabrication, and plagiarism.

A short guide for students on how to meet the expectations of the AU’s Academic Integrity Code

Defining and Reporting discrimination, harassment or sexual misconduct to the Office of Equity and Title IX

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American University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy or parenting, age, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, personal appearance, gender identity and expression, family responsibilities, political affiliation, source of income, veteran status, an individual’s genetic information or any other bases under applicable federal and local laws. The University expressly prohibits any form of discriminatory harassment including sexual harassment, dating and domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, sexual exploitation, and stalking.

As a faculty member, I am required to report discrimination, harassment or sexual misconduct to the Office of Equity and Title IX if I witness it or become aware of it. There are four confidential resources on campus if you wish to speak to someone who is not required to report: Counseling Center, victim advocates in OASIS, medical providers in the Student Health Center, and the Chaplain in the Kay Spiritual Life Center. For more information or if you wish to directly make a report, please visit the Office of Equity and Title IX website.

Review the complete Discrimination and Non-Title IX Sexual Misconduct Policy.

Emergency Preparedness

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In the event of an emergency, American University will implement a plan for meeting the needs of all members of the university community. Should the University be required to close for a period of time, we are committed to ensuring that all aspects of our educational programs will be delivered to our students. These may include altering and extending the duration of the traditional term schedule to complete essential instruction in the traditional format and/or the use of distance instructional methods. Specific strategies will vary from class to class, depending on the format of the course and the timing of the emergency. Faculty will communicate class-specific information to students via AU email and Canvas, while students must inform their faculty immediately of any emergency-related absence. Students are responsible for checking their AU email regularly and keeping themselves informed of emergencies. In the event of an emergency, students should refer to the AU Student Portal, the AU website, and the AU information line at (202) 885-1100 for general university-wide information, as well as contact their faculty and/or respective dean’s office for course and school/college specific information.

Student Code of Conduct

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The central commitment of American University is the development of thoughtful, responsible human beings in the context of a challenging yet supportive academic community. The Student Code of Conduct is designed to benefit the American University community and to assist in forming the highest standards of ethics and morals among its members. By registering for this course, students have acknowledged their awareness of the Student Code of Conduct and they are obliged to become familiar with their rights and responsibilities as defined by the Code.

Religious Observances

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Students will be provided the opportunity to make up any examination, study, or work requirements that may be missed due to a religious observance, provided they notify their instructors before the end of the second week of classes. Please send this notification through email to the professor. For additional information, see American University’s religious observances policy.

Use of Student Work

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The professor will use academic work that you complete for educational purposes in this course during this semester. Your registration and continued enrollment constitute your consent.

More information about the academic integrity code, emergency preparedness, and Title IX.

Academic Support Services

Academic Success Coaching

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Academic Coaching offers free one-on-one meetings where learners work with academic coaches to identify and enhance academic strategies. Students may schedule one 30-minute academic coaching session per week. Sessions are interactive and learners can expect to leave with a strategic action plan. Our year-round services are open to all degree-seeking AU learners, undergraduate and graduate. Virtual Sessions are held on Zoom, Monday-Friday. You’ll receive a zoom link the day of your session.  Some In-person sessions are also available throughout the week. Please check our YouCanBook.Me for details. Digital resources can be found in our online Resource Library. Hardcopies can be found on the resource wall outside of MGC 243.

Peer Assisted Student Support (PASS) Tutoring Lab

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The PASS Tutoring Lab provides free one-on-one and drop-in tutoring for selected courses in disciplines such as accounting, biology, chemistry and economics. In your 30 minutes or hour appointment, a peer tutor can assist with understanding course content, providing hands-on practice, and discussing best strategies for studying.  (Schedule tutoring appointments on WC Onlinetutoring@american.edu)

International Student & Scholar Services

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International Student & Scholar Services provides immigration services and cultural guidance to students and the university community by educating, advocating, and training while complying with federal regulations governing international education exchange.

Mathematics & Statistics Tutoring Lab

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The Mathematics & Statistics Tutoring Lab provides free drop-in tutoring and scheduled one-on-one tutoring appointments to American University students for exam review, homework assignments, and understanding concepts. The Lab tutors Mathematics concepts up to Calculus II and Statistics concepts up to Intermediate Statistics. (Drop-in to Don Myers Building Room 103 or Schedule tutoring appointments on WC Online)

Supplemental Instruction

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Supplemental Instruction (SI) is a free group tutoring program that supports historically challenging courses in disciplines such as accounting, biology, chemistry and economics. SI Leaders facilitate weekly group review sessions that reiterate course content. In your one or two hour session, an SI Leader can assist with learning course concepts, facilitating group learning, and sharing best strategies for studying and note taking. (siprogram@american.edu)

Writing Center

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Writing Center offers free, individual coaching sessions to all AU students. In your 45-minute session, a student writing consultant can help you address your assignments, understand the conventions of academic writing, and learn how to revise and edit your own work. (Bender Library – 1st Floor Commons – Schedule tutoring appointments on WC Online – 202-885-2991)

Get Help from a Research Librarian

Get Help from a Research Librarian: A research librarian can help you find high-quality information for your research projects and can save you time. For a quick question, librarians are available on chat 24/7. You can also request a personal meeting with a subject specialist librarian through here: https://www.american.edu/library/ask/

Student Support Services

Center for Diversity & Inclusion (CDI)

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CDI is dedicated to enhancing LGBTQ, multicultural, first-generation, and women’s experiences on campus and to advancing AU’s commitment to respecting and valuing diversity by serving as a resource and liaison to students, staff, and faculty on issues of equity through education, outreach, and advocacy. It is located on the 2nd floor of Mary Graydon Center (202-885-3651, MGC 201 & 202).

The Center for Well-being Programing and Psychological Services

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The Center for Well-being Programing and Psychological Services was recently formed to help better meet the wellness needs of the American University student population. It is comprised of staff that previously worked in the Counseling Center and the Health Promotion and Advocacy Center. The Center provides American University students with a range of wellness related services. These services include: individual psychotherapy, group psychotherapy, victim/survivor advocacy services, crisis intervention through AUProtoCall Services 202-885-7979, alcohol and other drug education and consultations and wellness related programing. For more information please visit our website www.american.edu/counseling.

Dean of Students Office

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The Office of the Dean of Students offers individual meetings to discuss issues that impact the student experience including academic, social, and personal matters.  Staff work with students and make referrals to appropriate campus resources for resolution.

Additionally, while academic regulations state that medical absences are to be excused, if faculty require correspondence to verify the student’s significant medical concern, medical documentation should be submitted by the student to the Office of the Dean of Students (“DOS”).  The DOS staff will review the documentation and verify the medical excuse.  Faculty have the discretion to approve absences and do not need permission from the Office of the Dean of Students to excuse absences.  Students should be referred to the Office of the Dean of Students only if faculty require further proof of a significant medical concern or if they have concerns about the impact of absences on the student’s ability to succeed (202-885-3300; Butler Pavilion 408; www.american.edu/dos)

Food and Housing Insecurity Statement

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Students facing challenges securing food or housing should be referred to the Office of the Dean of Students (www.american.edu/dos or 202-885-3300) for support and referral to resources.

Victim-Survivor Advocacy Services

Victim-Survivor Advocacy Services, which is housed within the Center for Well-Being Programs and Psychological Services (Well-Being Center), provides free and confidential advocacy services for students who have experienced sexual and interpersonal harm. These services are available ​during office hours, Monday through Friday, to all students and to friends and family members of survivors. To schedule an in person or virtual meeting with an advocate, please book an appointment at http://auhpac.youcanbook.me. The advocates are also available via email (hpac@american.edu) or by phone (202-885-7070). Victim-Survivor Advocacy Services is located in Hughes Hall, Suite 105.

Center for Well-Being Programs and Psychological Services

The Center for Well-Being Programs and Psychological Services offers a variety of psychological services, online resources, and referrals to off-campus mental health care. Psychological services are free and confidential. Students can schedule an appointment and faculty can schedule a consultation at 202-885-3500.

Please visit the Center’s website for more information: www.american.edu/counseling.

You@American

You@American is American University’s student portal for mental and physical health. Find tips and tools for everything from your mental and physical health, to friendships and finding balance. Get started at the You@american portal.

Respect for Diversity

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As stated in the American University Discrimination and Non-Title IX Sexual Misconduct Policy:

“American University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution that operates in compliance with applicable laws and regulations. The University does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, pregnancy or parenting, age, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, personal appearance, gender identity and expression, family responsibilities, political affiliation, source of income, veteran status, an individual’s genetic information or any other bases under applicable federal and local laws and regulations (collectively “Protected Bases”) in its programs and activities. The University expressly prohibits any form of discriminatory harassment including sexual harassment, dating and domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, sexual exploitation and stalking.”

The above website includes further details, including how to report instances of discrimination and your responsibilities as a member of the campus community in relation to the policy; you are strongly encouraged to familiarize yourself further with this policy.

Class rosters and University data systems are provided to faculty with the student’s legal name and legal gender marker. As a student, you are able to change how your name shows up through email and on your AU ID Card. This option is helpful for various student populations, including but not limited to: students who abbreviate their first name; students who use their middle name; international students; and transgender students. As a faculty member, I am committed to using your name and pronouns. We will take time during our first class together to do introductions, at which point you can share with all members of our learning community what name and pronouns you use, as you are comfortable. Additionally, if these change at any point during the semester, please let me know and we can develop a plan to share this information with others in a way that is safe for you. Should you want to update your name, you can do so by looking at the guidelines and frequently asked questions from the Center for Diversity and Inclusion.

Students with Disabilities

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If you wish to receive accommodations for a disability, please notify me with a memo from the Academic Support and Access Center. As accommodations are not retroactive, timely notification at the beginning of the semester, if possible, is strongly recommended. To register with a disability or for questions about disability accommodations, contact the Academic Support and Access Center at 202-885-3360 or asac@american.edu. For more information, visit AU’s Disability Accommodations web page.

Updated 01/17/2023