The syllabus provides a road map for students to succeed in your course, laying out your expectations and what students can expect while taking the course.

Download a word version of the language

Syllabus Language around Course Materials Copyright

There is a growing national trend in which some university students are posting course materials to online platforms such as Coursehero.com without permission. These materials are then made available to other users of that platform. Therefore, to protect the intellectual property of syllabi and course materials, among other materials, it is recommended that instructors take the following actions:

  1. Educate their students that syllabi and course materials they provide are intended for research and educational purposes only and are protected by U.S. copyright laws. This could be a good opportunity to have a discussion with students about ethical responsibilities and the legal principles concerning copyright. 
  2. Include a statement in the course syllabus to this effect.
  3. Add a copyright notice to course materials that is distributed or that students download from Brightspace.

Suggested syllabus statement:

“This syllabus, course lectures and presentations, and any course materials provided throughout this term are protected by U.S. copyright laws.  Students enrolled in the course may use them for their own research and educational purposes.  However, reproducing, selling or otherwise distributing these materials without written permission of the copyright owner is expressly prohibited, including providing materials to commercial platforms such as Chegg or CourseHero.  Doing so may constitute a violation of U.S. copyright law as well as MSU’s Code of Student Conduct.”

Note: Copyright protection is not contingent on including a copyright notice on your course materials. The materials are protected as soon as they are created. However, including a notice reminds students of faculty ownership and copyrights and of students' obligations to respect those rights.

Copyright notice for course materials:

“These materials are protected pursuant to U.S. copyright laws.  No part of these materials may be reproduced, displayed, or used in any manner or medium without prior written permission of the copyright owner.”

To prohibit recording in the classroom:

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains permission from the instructor. If permission is granted, any distribution of the recording is prohibited. Students with specific electronic recording accommodations authorized by the Office of Disability Services do not require instructor permission; however, the instructor must be notified of any such accommodation prior to recording. Any distribution of such recordings is prohibited.

Syllabus Language for COVID-19

WEARING MASKS IN CLASSROOMS IS REQUIRED 

Face coverings are required in all indoor spaces and all enclosed or partially enclosed outdoor spaces. MSU requires all students to wear face masks or cloth face coverings in classrooms, laboratories and other similar spaces where in-person instruction occurs. MSU requires the wearing of masks in physical classrooms to help mitigate the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19.  The MSU community views the adoption of these practices as a mark of good citizenship and respectful care of fellow classmates, faculty, and staff.

The complete details about MSU’s mask requirement can be found at https://www.montana.edu/health/coronavirus/index.html

These requirements from the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education are detailed in the MUS Healthy Fall 2020 Guidelines, Appendix B.

For more information: https://www.montana.edu/health/coronavirus/prevention/index.html

Compliance with the face-covering protocol is expected. If a you do not comply with a classroom rule, you may be requested to leave class.  Section 460.00 of the MSU Code of Student Conduct covers “disruptive student behavior.” 

HEALTH-RELATED CLASS ABSENCES

Please evaluate your own health status regularly and refrain from attending class and other on-campus events if you are ill.  MSU students who miss class due to illness will be given opportunities to access course materials online. You are encouraged to seek appropriate medical attention for treatment of illness.  In the event of contagious illness, please do not come to class or to campus to turn in work. Instead notify me by email about your absence as soon as practical, so that accommodations can be made.  Please note that documentation (a Doctor’s note) for medical excuses is not required.  MSU University Health Partners - as part their commitment to maintain patient confidentiality, to encourage more appropriate use of healthcare resources, and to support meaningful dialogue between instructors and students - does not provide such documentation.

Remember that we have additional suggested syllabus language for students with disabilities and weather-related impacts to attendance on our web site.

We encourage you to communicate with students, in your syllabus, how they will be able to continue to participate if a student needs to quarantine or isolate during the semester. Please email us at [email protected] if you need help developing strategies for student participation and success while they are unable to attend class in person.

Note to Faculty Concerning Your Potential Absence:

Your syllabus is a good place to communicate how your class will continue if you are required to quarantine or isolate during the semester.

ACCOMMODATIONS FOR NOT WEARING A MASK

Individuals whose unique and individual circumstances require an exception to the face covering requirement, as indicated by a medical professional, may request one in accordance with the campus ADA policies. Students should contact the Office of Disability Services at 994-2824 or [email protected] to receive written permission from the Office of Disability Services at MSU. It is strongly recommended that students make contact prior to arriving on campus in order to provide adequate time for their request to be evaluated.

Updated August 4, 2020 

Syllabus Language for Diversity and Inclusion

Diversity Statement:

Respect for Diversity: It is my intent that students from all diverse backgrounds and perspectives be well-served by this course, that students' learning needs be addressed both in and out of class, and that the diversity that students bring to this class be viewed as a resource, strength and benefit. It is my intent to present materials and activities that are respectful of diversity: genderidentity, sexual orientation, disability, age, first-generation college student, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, race,religion, culture, perspective, and other background characteristics. Your suggestions about how to improve the value of diversity in this course are encouraged and appreciated. Please let me know ways to improve the effectiveness of the course for you personally or for other students or student groups.

In addition, in scheduling exams, I have attempted to avoid conflicts with major religious holidays. If, however, I have inadvertently scheduled an exam or major deadline that creates a conflict with your religious observances, please let me know as soon as possible so that we can make other arrangements. 

(Adapted fromUniversity of Iowa)

Inclusivity Statement:

Isupportan inclusive learning environment where diversity and individual differences are understood, respected, appreciated, and recognized as a source of strength. We expect that students, faculty, administrators and staffat MSUwill respect differences and demonstrate diligence in understanding how other peoples' perspectives, behaviors, and worldviews may be different from their own. 

(Adapted from theUniversity of Northern Colorado)

More information about Diversity and Inclusion at MSU

Syllabus Language for Academic Misconduct

Statement on Academic Writing and Student Responsibilities:

Students writing in an academic setting are responsible for approaching all assignments with rigor, integrity, and in compliance with the University Code of Student Conduct. This responsibility includes:

  1. consulting and analyzing sources that are relevant to the topic of inquiry;
  2. clearly acknowledging when they draw from the ideas or the phrasing of those sources in their own writing;
  3. learning and using appropriate citation conventions within the field in which they are studying; and
  4. asking their instructor for guidance when they are uncertain of how to acknowledge the contributions of others in their thinking and writing.

When students fail to adhere to these responsibilities, they may intentionally or unintentionally “usesomeone else’s language, ideas, or other original (not common-knowledge) material without properly acknowledg­ing its source”(http://www.wpacouncil.org). When the act is intentional, the student has engaged in plagiarism.

Plagiarism is an act of academic misconduct, which carries with it consequences including but not limited to receiving a course grade of “F” and a report to the Office of the Dean of Students. Unfortunately, it is not always clear if the misuse of sources is intentional or unintentional, which means that you may be accused of plagiarism even if you do not intentionally plagiarize. If you have any questions regarding use and citation of sources in your academic writing, you are responsible for consulting with your instructor before the assignment due date. In addition, you can work with an MSU Writing Center tutor at any point in your writing process, including when you are integrating or citing sources. You can make an appointment and find citation resources at www.montana.edu/writingcenter.

More information about Academic Misconduct from the Dean of Students

Syllabus Language for Students with Disabilities

If you are a student with a disability and wish to use your approved accommodations for this course,pleasecontact me during my office hours to discuss. Please have your Accommodation Notification or Blue Card available for verification of accommodations. Accommodations are approved through the Office of Disability Services located in SUB 174. Please see Disability Services for more information by clicking here.

More information on language for students with disabilities

Resources for Creating your Syllabus

Suggested Language for your Syllabus around Student Well-Being

Our many roles as faculty involve understanding students as holistic people. Below is language to guide discussions with your students on the first day of class. You may also want to include it in your syllabus as a way to identify your status as a mandatory reporter and demonstrate your support of student well-being, including mental health and wellness.

Please consider adding the following language to your syllabus and reviewing it with students on the first day of class:

You Are Not Alone

Students at Montana State University have the right to live and learn in an academic environment that is free from all forms of discrimination including sexual and gender-based discrimination, harassment, and violence including sexual assault, relationship violence, and stalking.  If you (or someone you know) has experienced or is experiencing these types of behaviors, please know that you are not alone.  Resources and support are available at MSU.  You can learn more at: www.montana.edu/voice.  MSU has confidential resources available to you through the VOICE Center, MSU Counseling and Psychological Services, and University Health Partners Health Services.  These services are available to provide support, resources, and referrals to numerous campus and community agencies that can provide the information and support you need.

Please know that if you choose to confide in me, I am required by the university to report to the Title IX Coordinator/MSU Office of Institutional Equity, as MSU and I want to ensure you are connected with all the support the university can offer.  You are not required to respond to outreach from the university if you do not want to do so.  You can also make a report yourself, including an anonymous report, through [email protected]

Mental Health and Wellness

MSU strives to create a culture of support and recognizes that your mental health and wellness are equally as important as your physical health. We want you to know that it’s OK if you experience difficulty, and there are several resources on campus to help you succeed emotionally, personally, and academically: 

Counseling & Psychological Services:           https://www.montana.edu/counseling/

Health Advancement:                                 http://www.montana.edu/oha/

Insight Program (Substance Use):               http://www.montana.edu/oha/insight/

Suicide Prevention:                                    https://www.montana.edu/suicide-prevention/ 

Medical Services:                                       https://www.montana.edu/health/medical.html

WellTrack wellness app:                             https://montana.welltrack.com

Mental Health Screening:     https://screening.mentalhealthscreening.org/montanastateuniv

Let’s Talk drop-in services:                                https://www.montana.edu/counseling/letstalk.html

For more details, review the "Faculty Responsibilities" section of the Faculty Handbook.

Additional Information on writing a Syllabus

Please feel free to email [email protected] if you have any questions or concerns.