CTL: Center for Teaching and Learning

Syllabus Statements The Syllabus can be your gateway to inclusion

Written by Julie Bezzerides and Spencer Payton

Overview

This inclusive teaching webpage provides samples of syllabus language written with the intention of generating discussion and consideration of the syllabus as a gateway to inclusive practices. The sample statements can be adopted and adapted to best suit the purposes of an individual instructor and/or course. These are only a few of many examples available online and are intended to inspire instructors at LCSC to consider framing their course syllabi with inclusive practices in mind.

Syllabus Topics Related to Inclusive Practices

A Few Helpful Resources

The Examples

Religious and Cultural Observance Accommodations

A student with a conflict between an academic requirement and a religious or cultural observance may notify the instructor within the first [number] weeks of class of the specific dates in order to schedule a make-up activity.

LCSC Faculty Member

 

Persons who have religious or cultural observances that coincide with the meetings of this class should let the instructor know in writing (by e-mail) by [date]. I strongly encourage you to honor your religious holidays and cultural practices! However, if I do not hear from you by [date], I will assume you plan to attend all class meetings.

University of Michigan

 

University policy grants students excused absences from class or other organized activities for observance of religious holy days, unless the accommodation would create an undue hardship. You must notify me by the end of the [number] week of classes if you have any conflicts that may require an absence. It is your responsibility to make arrangements with me in advance to make up any missed work or in-class material.

University of Denver

 

If you anticipate that your religious observance may conflict with academic obligations such as attending class, taking examinations, or submitting assignments, you can work directly with your professor to plan reasonable accommodations,

Wesleyan University

Accessibility and Accommodations

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. If you need course adaptations or accommodations because of a disability, if you have emergency medical information to share with me, or if you need special arrangements in case the building must be evacuated, please make an appointment to see me. In order for me to provide accommodations for a disability you must be registered with the Office of Disability Services (ODS) (RCH 111; oslws@lcsc.edu; 208-792-2677).

LCSC Faculty Member

 

The University of Colorado Denver is committed to ensuring the full participation of all students in its programs, including students with disabilities. If you have a disability or think you have a disability and need accommodations to succeed in this course, I encourage you to contact Disability Resources and Services (DRS) and/or speak with me as soon as you can. (DRS is located in Academic Building 1, Suite 2116, and at disabilityresources@ucdenver.edu.) I am committed to providing equal access as required by federal law, and I am interested in developing strategies for your success in this course.

University of Colorado, Denver

 

I encourage students with disabilities, including non-visible disabilities such as chronic diseases, learning disabilities, head injury and attention deficit/hyperactive disorder, to discuss with me, after class or during my office hours, appropriate accommodations that might be helpful to them.

Everett Community College

Guidelines for Inclusive Communication in Classroom Discussions

Learning is most effective when the classroom is comfortable, challenging, and fun. As such, we as a group must cultivate mutual respect for ideas, freedom/ability to speak in class, and a professional tone. I will, consequently, not tolerate any form of disrespect geared towards me or another in class, cursing of any kind, dishonesty, or disruptive activity. Spirited engagement and exciting disagreement, however, are encouraged.

Yale University

Respect for Diversity and Universal Learning

Regardless of race, color, age, sex, religion, national origin, disability, veteran status, gender identity, or sexual orientation, you will be treated and respected as a human being. 

LCSC Faculty Member

 

I am committed to the principle of universal learning. This means that our classroom, our virtual spaces, our practices, and our interactions be as inclusive as possible. Mutual respect, civility, and the ability to listen and observe others carefully are crucial to universal learning. Active, thoughtful, and respectful participation in all aspects of the course will make our time together as productive and engaging as possible.

Hollins University

 

It is my intent that students from diverse backgrounds and perspectives be well-served by this course, that students' learning needs be addressed both in and out of class, and that the diversity that students bring to this class be viewed as a resource, strength and benefit. I expect you to feel challenged and sometimes outside of your comfort zone in this course, but it is my intent to present materials and activities that are inclusive and respectful of all persons, no matter their gender, sexual orientation, disability, age, socioeconomic status, ethnicity, race, culture, perspective, and other background characteristics.

Colby College

Attendance and Participation

Attendance and participation are highly important in this [small, collaborative, seminar-style] class. If you must be absent because of an emergency or illness, please make every effort to speak with me about it beforehand, if possible, or after the next class. I will excuse such absences with a doctor’s note or other form of official documentation. Please notify me of absences due to religious observance or University sporting events as soon as you can, or by the third week of the semester. Keep in mind that more than two unexcused absences will begin to affect your final grade.

Hollins University

Title IX

Yale University adheres to the philosophy that all community members should enjoy an environment free of any form of harassment, sexual misconduct, discrimination, or intimate partner violence. If you have been the victim of sexual misconduct, we encourage you to report this. If you report this to a faculty/staff member, they must notify our college’s Title IX coordinator about the basic facts of the incident (you may choose to request confidentiality from the University). If you encounter sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, sexual assault, or discrimination based on race, color, religion, age, national origin, ancestry, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability please contact the Title IX Coordinator, Stephanie Spangler, at stephanie.spangler@yale.edu, 203.432.4446 or any of the University Title IX Coordinators, who can be found at http://provost.yale.edu/title-ix/coordinators.

Yale University

FERPA Statement

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act(FERPA) is a federal law designed to protect the privacy of student educational records, as enforced by the U.S. Department of Education. In essence, the act states that 1) students must be permitted to inspect their own educational records and 2) school officials may not disclose personally identifiable information about a student without written permission from the student. For further information on FERPA and LCSC’s directory information policy, call 208-792-2223.

LCSC Faculty Member

Plagiarism

Academic integrity is a core university value that ensures respect for the academic reputation of the University, its students, faculty and staff, and the degrees it confers. The University expects that students will conduct themselves in an honest and ethical manner and respect the intellectual work of others. Please ask about my expectations regarding permissible or encouraged forms of student collaboration if they are unclear.

Yale University

Student Mental Health and Well-Being

I care about my students’ well-being and understand they may face mental health challenges. Students are encouraged to seek support from the College’s available resources, including your advising dean and Counseling Services. (For immediate care, please call 207-859-4490 and press “0” to reach the on-call counselor.) I am willing to discuss reasonable accommodations during a crisis, but to fulfill our educational mission, students are expected to adhere to the attendance policy. Failure to do so because of mental health challenges may require consultation with the Dean of Studies Office.

Colby College

 

As a student, you may experience a range of issues that can negatively impact your learning, such as anxiety, depression, interpersonal or sexual violence, difficulty eating or sleeping, loss/grief, and/or alcohol/drug problems. These mental health concerns or stressful events may lead to diminished academic performance and affect your ability to participate in day-to-day activities. In order to support you during such challenging times, GVSU provides a number of confidential resources to all enrolled students, including the University Counseling Center (http://www.gvsu.edu/counsel/ or 616-331-3266) and the Student Ombuds, Takeelia Garrett (garrettt@gvsu.edu).

Grand Valley State University

Students as Parents

Currently, the university does not have a formal policy on children in the classroom. The poly described here is just a reflection of my own beliefs and commitments to student, staff, and faculty parents:

  1. All exclusively breastfeeding babies are welcome in class as often as is necessary.
  2. For older children and babies, I understand that unforeseen disruptions in childcare often put parents in the position of having to miss class to stay home with a child. While this is not meant to be a long-term childcare solution, occasionally bring a child to class in order to cover gaps in care is perfectly acceptable.
  3. I ask that all students work with me to create a welcoming environment that is respectful of all forms of diversity, including diversity in parenting status.
  4. In all cases where babies and children come to class, I ask that you sit close to the door so that if your little one needs special attention and is disrupting learning for other students, you may step outside until their need has been met.
  5. Finally, I understand that often the largest barrier to completing your coursework once you become a parent is the tiredness many parents feel in the evening once children have finally gone to sleep. While I maintain the same high expectations for all students in my classes regardless of parenting status, I am happy to problem-solve with you in a way that makes you feel supported as you strive for school-parenting balance.

University of Texas

Mobile Device Policy

Research has shown us that even having our cell phones on the table in front of us diminishes our ability to learn well; further, taking notes via computer diminishes one’s ability to process information. Checking texts, emails, and messages is also unprofessional and disrespectful to our class community. Please turn off your phone, email, and computer during class; I will do so as well. I appreciate your cooperation with this important aspect of creating a class of which we all want to be a part.

Yale University

Gender Expression and Identity

Students whose preferred names do not match their state issued identification may have their preferred name on their GVSU ID card, the name associated with their student email account and in Blackboard, an online learning tool for discussions and class group collaborations. Students must make these requests by contacting Bill Widmaier (widmaieb@gvsu.edu) in the Registrar's Office. He will take your request and contact the Blackboard administrator to make the change. He also contacts professors to inform them that your name in Banner will not match the name in Blackboard. More information is available at http://www.gvsu.edu/lgbtrc/preferred-or-use-name-208.htm.

Grand Valley State University

 

Class rosters are provided to each instructor with the student's legal name. I will gladly honor your request to address you by an alternate name and/or gender pronoun. Please advise me of this early in the semester so that I may make appropriate changes to my records.

Colby College

Gender-Inclusive/Non-Sexist Language

Aspiring to create a learning environment in which people of all identities are encouraged to contribute their perspectives to academic discourse, The University of Pittsburgh Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program provides guidelines and resources regarding gender-inclusive/non-sexist language. Following these guidelines fosters an inclusive and welcoming environment, strengthens academic writing, enriches discussion, and reflects best professional practices.

University of Pittsburgh

Student Feedback

Students will be provided the opportunity to formally evaluate each course in which they are enrolled. Notification of student feedback opportunity and timelines will be made through the official LCSC student email (currently LCMail) or online course learning management (currently Blackboard) systems. Please refer to the tentative course schedule (attached) to see the most likely day for the delivery of in-class student course evaluations.

LCSC Faculty Member

 

Other models for inclusive teaching statements 

https://www.brown.edu/sheridan/teaching-learning-resources/inclusive-teaching/statements

https://poorvucenter.yale.edu/DiversityStatements

https://cft.vanderbilt.edu/guides-sub-pages/syllabus-design/