If you subscribe to the Chronicle of Higher Education‘s daily Academe Today daily news summary, you may have seen that the lead article in the September 13 edition was How to Create a Syllabus — A New Chronicle Guide. It’s a lengthy and thorough guide to the art and science of crafting a meaningful syllabus that addresses institutional requirements while also providing students a useful, easy to use resource, reference guide, and schedule for the semester.
In the SPCS Adjunct Faculty portal (spcs.richmond.edu/adjunct), we offer syllabus guidelines in the Resources section (Resources > Syllabus Guidelines), including a link to the Required Elements of a Syllabus document. However, I think the Chronicle’s guide combined with the recommended guidelines and required elements are useful to developing a robust syllabus that stands the test of time — and the challenges students always bring to it.
SPCS adjuncts are required to submit copies of their syllabus to Beth Ann Howard and Kay Robertson, and may also be asked to submit their syllabus to their program chair or assistant chair for approval prior to the start of the semester. The various programs of the school are a little uneven in their handling of syllabi — some chairs require syllabi be approved prior to the start of the semester, and some chairs provide or facilitate a peer review process to ensure syllabus quality. Other chairs simply require the syllabus be submitted during the first week of class for reference.
I wonder if we’d like to consider an informal syllabus peer review process among members of the CoP? The purpose would not be administrative oversight. The goal would be professional development and improvement of the document we use to organize and structure our classes.
If you think that would be a useful project, drop a note in the Pedagogy-list email discussion. Not yet subscribed? Visit the subscription page. And while you’re at it, consider whether you think this “How to Create a Syllabus” guide is useful to you. Should we develop a UR or SPCS-specific guide? Or include this guide as a reference on the SPCS Adjunct Faculty portal?