For UIC to provide outstanding education at all levels to a diverse student body, those engaged in teaching should be guided by practices proven to maximize student success. Both the teaching and learning process is aided by a course syllabus—a document delivered to students at the beginning of a course that outlines the course’s goals, nature of the course content, prerequisites, requirements and the methods of evaluation in a timely manner. An articulated policy will also help administrators gather information to meet documentation standards of accrediting bodies that require instructors to communicate course requirements to students; reviewers utilize syllabi or equivalent documentation to assess other areas of compliance.
All regularly scheduled undergraduate, graduate and professional courses for which students receive credit or are required to complete, regardless of the method of delivery, must have a syllabus or equivalent documentation, defining the expectations of the instructor and the responsibilities of the student. It must include essential information as outlined in the attached syllabus guidelines section.
In order to be most useful to students, syllabi must be distributed on the first day of class.
The instructor(s) should make a reasonable effort to follow the course syllabus, yet changes to the course syllabus can be made for extenuating circumstances. Where substantial deviations are made, students should be given appropriate notice of the change.
Given the varied nature of instruction and course delivery, responsibility for ensuring compliance with this policy is assigned to each college.
Applicability (location, group, subject as appropriate)
Instructors–defined as “responsible” under College guidelines, regardless of faculty rank–of undergraduate, professional and graduate courses held at any UIC campus and determined by College to be covered by this policy.
Definitions or Clarification of Terms
- Syllabus or Course Documentation: minimally consisting of essential information described below, distributed to students at the beginning of the course term, but could also include information intended to aid students in successful completion of the course and communicate course requirements.
- Instructor(s): individual faculty member, instructor, lecturer, teaching assistant designated as responsible party for completing and distributing the syllabus or course documentation for a course covered under this policy.
- Scheduled Courses: courses for which credit is awarded or are required for program or degree completion and which have a designated schedule for attendance or participation.
- Distribution: delivery of syllabi by hard copy in class or digitally via email or by posting on Blackboard.
Related Statutes, Policies, Requirements, Standards or Guidelines
Essential information includes the following:
- Course title, number, and description including credit hours and prerequisites (if any);
- Name of and contact information for the instructor(s), availability times or office hours;
- Course goals or objectives, requirements, and methods of evaluation;
- Class meeting schedule – dates, times, and location(s);
- Required and optional texts and other course materials;
- Calendar of major course events and deadlines (e.g., due dates for assignments and exams, including the final exam);
- Grading policy;
- Attendance policy;
- Policy for missed or late work;
- Student Information About Midterms;
- Special policies for the course, if any (e.g., a policy that collaboration is permitted on take home work, a policy that calculators can be used on exams, penalties for late work, field work, etc.);
- Information about or links to university information about academic deadlines, religious holidays, consequences for academic honesty, and disability services;
- Statement about disability services;
- Description of appropriate classroom behavior and consequences for inappropriate behavior. Some instructors, for instance, limit or prohibit cell phone usage, talking in class, eating in class, etc. Some instructors provide rules for classroom discussion or dress, etc. When necessary, a syllabus provides a reference for student disciplinary hearings.
- Syllabi should include a statement about academic integrity appropriate for the class and aligned with the UIC Student Disciplinary Policy (see www.uic.edu/depts/dos/studentconduct.html);
- Students may be directed to the university academic grievance procedure.
- Students may also be directed to the Registrar’s Web site for a list of registration and records policies.
- Statement about UIC Campus Program for Student Evaluation of Teaching (see Syllabus Template for sample text)
Individual colleges shall determine which, if any, of their courses may be excluded from this policy. In cases where more than one instructor is assigned to a course, colleges shall determine who is responsible for ensuring syllabi or equivalent documents are provided to enrolled students.
Colleges will maintain records of course syllabi or equivalent documents as deemed necessary to comply with any applicable accrediting bodies.
Instructors as defined above will be responsible for preparing and distributing the syllabi or equivalent documentation to the student.
Syllabus Template for use by Faculty