Purpose and Value
A syllabus is an academic agreement that establishes the academic relationship between instructors and students in a course, used as the basis for communication and accountability. It communicates course expectations, organizes information, sets the tone for the learning environment, maps the path of student learning, and provides accountability. A carefully constructed syllabus helps clarify course goals and learning objectives, assessment and evaluation standards, grading policies, and expectations for student and faculty behavior.
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Criteria for Accreditation require that a syllabus be placed on file in the department for each course taught and that students must be provided written information about the goals and requirements of each course, the nature of the course content, and the methods of evaluation to be employed.
- Every scheduled academic course, regardless of delivery method (e.g., on campus, online), must have a written syllabus distributed to students enrolled in the course. The syllabus should be posted electronically in USF's learning management system for the class and be available to students by the first day of class.
- A syllabus for each course taught each semester during each academic year (summer, fall, spring) shall be placed on file in the department offering the course. Only one syllabus is required for course offerings with multiple sections. Department syllabi should be updated each academic year. Departments are responsible for maintaining these files.
- Instructors should avoid making major changes to a syllabus once classes have begun, particularly changes affecting attendance standards, grading standards, or performance measures. However, since it is impossible to cover all contingencies in the planning stages of a course, students should be advised that instructors may need to make changes as the semester progresses. Any changes to a syllabus should be for compelling reasons and follow these guidelines:
- Fair and adequate notice is given to enrolled students either by email, in writing, or through the learning management system
- Modifications to the syllabus are not arbitrary or capricious.
- Students are not unfairly disadvantaged by mid-semester changes to grading standards, attendance standards, or performance measures. Efforts should be made to avoid penalizing students as a result of any necessary changes.
General Attendance Policy
Students are expected to attend classes. Faculty must inform students of attendance requirements on syllabi. Instructors should accommodate excused absences by making arrangements with students ahead of time (when possible) or by providing a reasonable amount of time to make up missed work.