Syllabus language gets senate approval

Senators approved a heavily amended piece of business at their April 3 Faculty Senate meeting, developing recommended language for use in class syllabi. The document responds to a request from the Government of the Student Body for better communication of classroom policies and guidelines.

"What the students have asked us to consider is that these are issues that are of concern to them and the information about these issues is difficult to find," said senate president Steve Freeman. "The request is that we include these issues on our syllabi. It's a recommendation that we include these issues, it is not a mandate to include these or use the exact language that was included in today’s docket item."

Issues and policies covered in the language include:

  • Academic dishonesty
  • Disability accommodation
  • Dead week guidelines
  • Harassment and discrimination
  • Religious accommodation
  • A contact email for reporting student rights violations

Five proposed amendments were debated at length, with four of them passing. The changes fine-tuned the language, while still covering the original issues.

"We're just trying to create more transparency and avoid confusion about things that go on in the classroom," said Zach Boss, GSB director of student affairs. "We want to protect the students and give them a sense of student rights in the classroom."

Other business

Three other pieces of business passed unanimously at the meeting, including:

  • Creation of an energy systems minor in the mechanical engineering department
  • Discontinuation of the engineering studies minor
  • Revised Faculty Handbook language (PDF) covering the summer appointment policy for B-base faculty, aligning the policy with effort-reporting requirements


Annemarie Butler (philosophy and religious studies) was elected senate secretary, running unopposed. Three council chairs also were elected:

  • Governance: John Cunnally, art and design
  • Faculty development and administrative relations: Ann Smiley-Oyen, kinesiology
  • Academic affairs: Rob Wallace, ecology, evolution and organismal biology

Coming up

Four new degree programs were introduced and will be voted on at the senate’s April 17 meeting, including:

  • An undergraduate minor in wind energy, an interdisciplinary program involving departments in the colleges of Engineering; Liberal Arts and Sciences; and Agriculture and Life Sciences
  • A master of design in sustainable environments, an interdisciplinary program in the College of Design
  • A master of urban design, an interdisciplinary program in the College of Design
  • A master of engineering in engineering management, primarily offered through distance education by the department of industrial and manufacturing systems engineering