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NOTE: This is an information page only and is current as of Spring 2009. Any information on official University policy pages or additional requirements from individual units supersedes this page.
The Penn State Syllabus Policy (http://www.psu.edu/ufs/policies/43-00.html) requires a written syllabus within the first 10 calendars days of the beginning of class. The following fields are required:
Your department, college or campus may require additional information, and an optimal syllabus usually includes more information such as faculty contact information, required textbooks, class policies, course goals, disability statement and other information about the course.
The purpose of stating the grading policy in the syllabus is to clarify specific issues of grading at the beginning of the semester so that students and instructors have a common understanding of grading policy. A detailed grading policy can help alleviate student anxieties about course expectations.
Some tips for a clear grading policy:
A well-constructed, consistently applied grading policy which balances instructor and student needs can help alleviate questions and other grading issues later in the semester.
This section should include information about exam times (including evening exams) and percentage of the course grade. Students are also interested in course content covered in each exam and how they will be graded.
The scheduling of evening exams in any course offered before 5:30 PM must be approved in advance by the dean or campus executive and notice must be provided to students within the first week of the course (http://www.register.psu.edu/exams/evening.cfm).
The purpose of the Academic Integrity statement is both to educate your students and to protect yourself should incidents arise later in the semester. A written statement is one way to ensure that students are made aware of Penn State policy, so they cannot claim ignorance later. In addition, some students are naive about plagiarism, associating it merely with copying and not with the use of ideas which they have paraphrased without proper citation.
There is no official recommended University statement, but your college or department may have a statement they want instructors to use. Links to some statements recommended by different colleges and campuses are available at :
These can provide good templates if you need a statement.
Statements should be tailored to meet the specific circumstances of your course. Spell out what constitutes a violation of academic integrity in course-work. Establishing guidelines and providing appropriate time and resources early in the semester will help students avoid committing plagiarism.
Information about strategies for avoiding student plagiarism and Academic Integrity policy at Penn State is available at http://tlt.its.psu.edu/suggestions/cyberplag/.
The Office for Disability Services offers this statement you may want to include in your syllabus:
The Pennsylvania State University is committed to the policy that all persons shall have equal access to programs, facilities, admission, and employment without regard to personal characteristics not related to ability, performance, or qualifications as determined by University policy or by state of federal authorities. The Pennsylvania State University does not discriminate against any person because of age, ancestry, color, disability or handicap, national origin, race, religious creed, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status.
Direct all inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policy to:
Affirmative Action Director
The Pennsylvania State University
201 Willard Building
University Park, PA 16802-2801
Telephone: (814) 863-0471
Many students at Penn State have learning, physical or other disabilities and a statement of accommodation will make them more comfortable approaching you and informing you of problems early in the semester. Many colleges or departments may have a recommended statement available for you to use.
The Penn State Office of Disability Services also offers a faculty handbook for working with students with disabilities with specific information on how to arrange for individual student accomodations.
Sample Disabilities Statement
If you have a documented disability and wish to receive academic accommodations, please contact the campus disability liaison as soon as possible: (name, office, telephone, email). For additional information, check the university web site: http://www.equity.psu.edu/ods/
NOTE: Accommodations require documentation.
If you are planning to list co-instructors in your syllabus, such as teaching assistants, graders or other staff members or faculty, you may want to confirm that these individuals have not classified their contact information as confidential. If they have, you cannot list them in the syllabus. For more information on confidential information see:
http://registrar.psu.edu/confidentiality/confidentiality.cfm, "Directory Information."