Montana State University

Center for Faculty Excellence


Marilyn Lockhart

Interim Director of Faculty Excellence
105 Montana Hall
(406) 994-4555
lockhart@montana.edu

Anne Angermeyr

Program Coordinator
212 Montana Hall
(406) 994-7136
annea@montana.edu

Ritchie Boyd

Academic Technology Specialist
310 Culbertson Hall
(406) 994-4660
jrboyd@montana.edu

 

Syllabus Language

PDF VERSION FOR DOWNLOAD

The following boilerplate language for use in preparing course syllabi was created by a small group from Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, and Faculty Council. I have added a few new items in response to issues that were raised in subsequent conversations with faculty. The language reflects recent updates to the conduct code and email policy and is intended to address key areas of faculty/student concern and to limit your legal exposure. I encourage you to edit the language to be more consistent with your personal style and omit those sections that you may already cover in your syllabi. The information in italics is included for clarification; it is not intended to be included in syllabi. I strongly encourage you to review those sections of the conduct code that do place expectations on instructors. The current language can be found at http://www2.montana.edu/policy/student_conduct/cg600.html.

You may also be interested two articles on syllabus design posted on the Teaching and Learning Resource Page:
http://www.montana.edu/teachlearn/Papers/syllabus.html (by Jim Vernon)
http://www.montana.edu/teachlearn/Papers/syllabusnew.html (by Craig Stewart)

Additional Syllabus-related Resources:

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.
Marilyn Lockhart (lockhart@montana.edu; 994-4555)

Syllabus Language

CORE 2.0 Objectives (for core courses only)
Beginning in fall 2010, the CORE 2.0 Committee is requesting that syllabi for all CORE 2.0 courses include a statement clearly indicating the core category and providing a brief overview of how the course addresses the key learning outcomes for that core area.

Behavioral Expectations
Montana State University expects all students to conduct themselves as honest, responsible and law-abiding members of the academic community and to respect the rights of other students, members of the faculty and staff and the public to use, enjoy and participate in the University programs and facilities. For additional information reference see MSU's Student Conduct Code at: http://www2.montana.edu/policy/student_conduct/cg600.html .

Collaboration
University policy states that, unless otherwise specified, students may not collaborate on graded material. Any exceptions to this policy will be stated explicitly for individual assignments. If you have any questions about the limits of collaboration, you are expected to ask for clarification.

Plagiarism
Paraphrasing or quoting another’s work without citing the source is a form of academic misconduct. Even inadvertent or unintentional misuse or appropriation of another's work (such as relying heavily on source material that is not expressly a cknowledged) is considered plagiarism. If you have any questions about using and citing sources, you are expected to ask for clarification.

Academic Misconduct
Section 420 of the Student Conduct Code describes academic misconduct as including but not limited to plagiarism, cheating, multiple submissions, or facilitating others’ misconduct. Possible sanctions for academic misconduct range from an oral reprimand to expulsion from the university.

Section 430 of the Student Code allows the instructor to impose the following sanctions for academic misconduct: oral reprimand; written reprimand; an assignment to repeat the work or an alternate assignment; a lower or failing grade on the particular assignment or test; or a lower grade or failing grade in the course. More serious sanctions require a Conduct Board hearing. You may wish to make explicit the minimum sanction you will impose for willful acts of academic misconduct.

Academic Expectations
Section 310.00 in the MSU Conduct Guidelines states that students must:

  1. be prompt and regular in attending classes;
  2. be well prepared for classes;
  3. submit required assignments in a timely manner;
  4. take exams when scheduled;
  5. act in a respectful manner toward other students and the instructor and in a way that does not detract from the learning experience; and
  6. make and keep appointments when necessary to meet with the instructor.

In addition to the above items, students are expected to meet any additional course and behavioral standards as defined by the instructor.

Withdrawal Deadlines
After [state date], I will only support requests to withdraw from this course with a “W” grade if extraordinary personal circumstances exist.

University policy is explicit that the advisor and instructor must approve requests to withdraw from a course with a grade of “W.” However, as general practice seems to favor supporting these requests until the last possible date, many students are unaware of this. We therefore recommend that, if you are going to have an earlier effective withdrawal date for your course, you state this explicitly.

Students with Disabilities
If you have a documented disability for which you are or may be requesting an accommodation(s), you are encouraged to contact your instructor and Disabled Student Services as soon as possible.

Email Policy
I expect that you will check your university email at least every [state number] days. [Provide more detailed expectations as appropriate.]

From Students email policy: Faculty will determine how electronic forms of communication (e.g., email, MyMSU course announcements, chats and message boards) will be used in their classes, and will specify their requirements in the course syllabus. This official student electronic communications policy will ensure that all students are able to comply with electronic-based course requirements specified by faculty. Faculty can therefore make the assumption that students' official email and MyMSU accounts are being accessed and they can use email, MyMSU course announcements, chats and message boards for their classes accordingly.

Student Educational Records
All records related to this course are confidential and will not be shared with anyone, including parents, without a signed, written release. If you wish to have information from your records shared with others, you must provide written request/authorization to the office/department. Before giving such authorization, you should understand the purpose of the release and to whom and for how long the information is authorized for release.

Students have the right to access their educational records by appointment. This information is protected by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). For more information contact the Dean of Students office at 994-2826.