Provost

Course Syllabus Information for Faculty: The course syllabus shares important information and provides specific requirements to ensure that students and faculty, alike, have a rich and fulfilling semester. As you prepare syllabi for the Spring 2020 semester, please include university policies, use an accessible format, and update course information.

University Policies
What follows are Hofstra policies that you are encouraged to include in your undergraduate and graduate syllabi. Feel free to alert students orally and include in your syllabi the following statement: “Specific policy relating to: Academic Honesty; Student Access Services; Deadlines and Grading Policies; Discrimination, Harassment, Sexual Misconduct; Absences for Religious Observance, is available at Hofstra Policies for students.

Accessible Format
In order to meet the diverse needs of students at the university, please provide each course syllabus in an accessible format. This format makes organization clearer, text easier to read, and the digital document accessible to users of adaptive technology. Here are some suggestions: Once the syllabus is ready to share, provide a digital version so that students can enlarge text, change colors, or make adjustments that meet their needs. You can do this by posting it on blackboard or sharing it online.

  • Include headers to divide content into sections.
  • Bold headers, important phrases, and due dates to highlight important information.
  • Include descriptive hyperlinks rather than cutting and pasting full URL addresses into the document. (See the “how to” hyperlinks video created by Microsoft Office.)
  • Make use of bulleted lists and paragraph breaks to separate large amounts of text.
  • When using color, make sure there are strong color contrasts so that text is readable. Use bold type with color to signify important information

Once the syllabus is ready to share, provide a digital version so that students can enlarge text, change colors, or make adjustments that meet their needs. You can do this by posting it on blackboard or sharing it online.

Update Course
Information Please take a moment to verify that each syllabus for the Spring 2020 semester has up-to-date course and contact information. Inclusion of these policies and services will help make the experience in the classroom and community more welcoming and productive for both faculty and students.

Promoting Academic Honesty
If you have not done so already, please take a look at Hofstra’s “Promoting Academic Honesty Online Workshop.” It is an excellent resource for all instructors. Click this link to begin the workshop.

Concrete suggestions are provided in each of the five subsections of this brief online workshop: 1) Hofstra’s Honor Code, 2) Setting Expectations, 3) Recognizing Violations, 4) Handling Violations, and 5) Promoting Academic Honesty. Here are a few suggestions from the online workshop:

  • Include the Hofstra Honor Code on your syllabus
  • Include a clear explanation of the penalty for violating the Hofstra Honor Code in your course.
  • Ensure students understand the appropriate citation formation for your discipline
  • Require students to submit all written work through the Turnitin assignment tool
  • Vary the content of tests and quizzes each semester

Some faculty have adopted specific exam policies for:

  • restroom breaks during testing,
  • shortening exams to a 45-60-minute timeframe, and
  • announcing such policies at the beginning of the semester and just before each exam.

We will gladly share these specifics with you.

Other faculty provide students specific resources:

  • a link to the preferred citation system (i.e., MLA, APA) with examples of how works are cited;
  • a look at how Turnitin works and what a plagiarized paper looks like.

It is also always a good idea to discuss your policies on group work and independent assignments early in the semester. Students new to university study or traditional US student work expectations may be unaware of what constitutes group and independent work.

Of course, there is also the option of a conversation with your departmental chair early in the semester to see if your classroom and assignment policies align with the best practices in your discipline.