Development Process

PROCESSES — building anew from what's existing

This page offers materials to consider while building a syllabus.


"The syllabus is an important document both for faculty and for the students. It’s often the first communication you have with the students."

A survey tool designed for you "to examine a particular syllabus and course design to get a broader perspective on inclusion in your actual teaching practices."

"Many students with and without disabilities have had their agency downplayed throughout their educations. To shift the rhetoric of the syllabus, instructors might explain what students can do as opposed to what they should not do."

“A better method would be to adopt the idea of the ‘promising syllabus,’ a concept developed by Ken Bain…'The promising syllabus,’ Bain wrote to me via e-mail, ‘fundamentally recognizes that people will learn best and most deeply when they have a strong sense of control over their own education rather than feeling manipulated by someone else's demands.’”

"The root of the problem is that the syllabus is really two different documents serving two different purposes. On the one hand, it is the most comprehensive guide that you will prepare detailing how you plan to organize a body of information in such a way as to reach your educational goals while having the greatest impact on student learning. On the other, it is seen as a quasi-legal contract that sets out your responsibilities to the students and what they must do in order to successfully complete the course. The first purpose is most often invisible and implicit; the second needs to be explicit and unambiguous."

"I take issue with the idea that once you’ve assigned a certain number of pages of weekly reading, you’ve accomplished something resembling "academic rigor." Faced with the question — How much reading should we assign? — I think most instructors would agree that the best answer is: 'It depends.'"

"An effective syllabus can stimulate interest in a course, help students see how it develops and coheres, and provide them with the rationale for the decisions we have made about what and how we want them to learn." 


Kelly Gavin Zuckerman
Syllabus Workshop Facilitator 

Chanelle Wilson
Syllabus Workshop Facilitator