Syllabus information

All instructors are required to distribute a syllabus to enrolled students during the first week of class that includes the following:

  • Instructor(s) contact information (office location, telephone #, and email address) and office hours; TA contact information and office hours.
  • Course prefix and number, title, number of credits, GenEd or UCORE category (if applicable) and pre-requisites, current semester, and year.
  • Meeting schedule with times and building(s)/rooms(s) (if known).
  • List of required and recommended course materials and how to obtain/purchase; online sites, learning management systems, etc.
  • Student learning outcomes and assessment
    • Rationale:
      • The university’s accrediting body, the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, requires that academic programs clearly identify their student learning outcomes and communicate them in written form to enrolled students, and that faculty take responsibility for fostering and assessing student achievement of the identified learning outcomes. Disciplinary accrediting associations also require explicit statements.
      • Learning outcomes and means of assessment are required in every syllabus as part of the implementation of the WSUV Strategic Plan (Goal 1, Objective 3, Benchmark 1: “Percentage of courses that include learning outcomes and their assessment”).
  • Define the outcomes you have for student learning in the course (what students should know or know how to do by the end of the course):
    • For all undergraduate courses, also identify the relationship to WSU’s Seven Learning Goals of the Baccalaureate (below), and be certain to align these outcomes, assignments, and your assessment practices.
    • All graduate courses must also include explicit learning outcomes and assessment statements that are relevant for the different graduate programs. Each graduate program has established student learning outcomes. If you are uncertain of what these learning outcomes are, check with your graduate chair or director.
  • Provide a grid of evidence of student progress toward student learning outcomes in this course. For each learning outcome the course seeks to advance, the syllabus must indicate how student progress (via writing, group activities, exams, and essays and reports, among others) will be evaluated in the course. Furthermore, it must be clear in the syllabus which class topics, activities, and graded work advance and/or evaluate progress toward which learning outcomes.

Include in your syllabus a grid like the one below (modified for your course), with the learning outcomes, topics, and assessment tool(s).

  At the end of this course, students should be able to: (Provide each student learning outcome for this course—starting with a verb—and align it with WSU Learning Goals.) Course topics (and dates) that address these learning outcomes are: This outcome will be evaluated primarily by [assignment or activity]:
LO1 Define basic terms and concepts in scientific methodology and analysis (WSU Goal: Scientific Literacy)    
LO2 Locate, categorize, critique, and evaluate sources of scientific information (WSU Goal: Information Literacy)    
LO3 Contextualize, discuss, and compare key scientists, advances, and theories in the biological sciences (WSU Goals: Communication, Scientific Literacy)    

Note that “evaluate” in this context means what it means in any classroom context. For example, how does the instructor know – what evidence does the instructor have – that a student has acquired the knowledge or skills that the course teaches? What WSUV asks for here is that evaluation of progress toward university learning outcomes receives the same explicitness of evaluation as does evaluation of traditional course goals. It is not expected that any course will include all of the WSU learning goals and program’s learning outcomes. For example, your course outcomes may focus on several of your program’s outcomes and support two WSU goals.

Evidence collected to support evaluation of student learning may later contribute to program-level assessment (of the learning outcomes targeted for students in the major). For instance, to aid program assessment, instructors may be asked for “artifacts” (or samples) of some of their students’ work, or for summary data of students’ mastery of learning. Nonetheless, the main purpose of instructors’ evaluating student progress toward learning outcomes is for instructors and student to know the level of student progress.

WSU Learning Goals (Seven Learning Goals of the Baccalaureate) with Examples of Student Learning Outcomes in a Course

WSU: Critical and Creative Thinking

Graduates will use reason, evidence, and context to increase knowledge, to reason ethically, and to innovate in imaginative ways.

Sample student learning outcomes in a course

For instance, graduates can demonstrate critical and creative thinking by their ability to:

  1. Define, analyze, and solve problems.
  2. Integrate and synthesize knowledge from multiple sources.
  3. Assess the accuracy and validity of findings and conclusions.
  4. Understand how one thinks, reasons, and makes value judgments, including ethical and aesthetical judgments.
  5. Understand diverse viewpoints, including different philosophical and cultural perspectives.
  6. Combine and synthesize existing ideas, images, or expertise in original ways.
  7. Think, react, and work in an imaginative way characterized by a high degree of innovation, divergent thinking, and risk taking.

WSU: Quantitative Reasoning

Graduates will solve quantitative problems from a wide variety of authentic contexts and everyday life situations.

Sample student learning outcomes in a course

For instance, graduates can demonstrate quantitative and symbolic reasoning by their ability to:

  1. Explain information presented in mathematical forms (e.g., equations, graphs, diagrams, tables, and words).
  2. Convert relevant information into various mathematical forms (e.g., equations, graphs, diagrams, tables, and words).
  3. Understand and apply quantitative principles and methods in the solution of problems.
  4. Make judgments and draw appropriate conclusions based on the quantitative analysis of data, while recognizing the limits of this analysis.
  5. Identify and evaluate important assumptions in estimation, modeling, and data analysis.
  6. Express quantitative evidence in support of the argument or purpose of work (in terms of what evidence is used and how it is formatted, presented, and contextualized).

WSU: Scientific Literacy

Graduates will have a basic understanding of major scientific concepts and processes required for personal decision-making, participation in civic affairs, economic productivity, and global stewardship.

Sample student learning outcomes in a course

For instance, graduates can demonstrate scientific literacy by their ability to:

  1. Identify scientific issues underlying global, national, local, and personal decisions and communicate positions that are scientifically and technologically informed.
  2. Evaluate the quality of scientific and health-related information on the basis of its source and the methods used to generate it.
  3. Pose and evaluate arguments based on evidence and apply conclusions from such arguments appropriately.
  4. Recognize the societal benefits and risks associated with scientific and technological advances.

WSU: Information Literacy

Graduates will effectively identify, locate, evaluate, use responsibly, and share information for the problem at hand.

Sample student learning outcomes in a course

For instance, graduates can demonstrate information literacy by their ability to:

  1. Determine the extent and type of information needed.
  2. Implement well-designed search strategies.
  3. Access information effectively and efficiently from multiple sources.
  4. Assess credibility and applicability of information sources.
  5. Use information to accomplish a specific purpose.
  6. Access and use information ethically and legally.

WSU: Communication

Graduates will write, speak, and listen to achieve intended meaning and understanding among all participants.

Sample student learning outcomes in a course

For instance, graduates can demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Recognize how circumstances, background, values, interests, and needs shape communication sent and received.
  2. Tailor messages to the audience.
  3. Express concepts propositions, and beliefs in coherent, concise, and technically correct form.
  4. Choose appropriate communication medium and technology.
  5. Speak with comfort in front of groups.
  6. Follow social norms for individual and small group interactions, which includes listening actively.

WSU: Diversity

Graduates will understand, respect, and interact constructively with others of similar and diverse cultures, values, and perspectives.

Sample student learning outcomes in a course

For instance, graduates can demonstrate their ability to:

  1. Critically assess their own core values, cultural assumptions, and biases in relation to those held by other individuals, cultures, and societies.
  2. Analyze and critique social, economic, and political inequality on regional, national, and global levels, including identifying one’s own position within systems.
  3. Recognize how events and patterns in the present and past structure affect human societies and world ecologies.
  4. Critically assess the cultural and social underpinnings of knowledge claims about individuals and groups, and their relations to one another.
  5. Actively seek opportunities to learn from diverse perspectives and to combat inequalities.

WSU: Depth, Breadth, and Integration of Learning

Graduates will develop depth, breadth, and integration of learning for the benefit of themselves, their communities, their employers, and for society at large.

Sample student learning outcomes in a course

For instance, graduates can demonstrate depth, breadth, and integration of learning:

  1. Through study in the sciences and mathematics, social sciences, humanities, histories, languages, and the arts.
  2. By showing a depth of knowledge within the chosen academic field of study based on integration of its history, core methods, techniques, vocabulary, and unsolved problems.
  3. By applying the concepts of the general and specialized studies to personal, academic, service learning, professional, and/or community activities.
  4. By understanding how the methods and concepts of the chosen discipline relate to those of other disciplines and by possessing the ability to engage in cross-disciplinary activities.

Additional Requirements

  • Week-to-week course outline including dates of additional activities (e.g., field trips, competitions, or other commitments).
  • Descriptions of required assignments.
  • Grading policies including (a) relative weighting of required assignments, (b) points/effort required to earn specific grades, and (c) late assignments; letter-grade equivalencies (What numerical score = an A, B, C, D, or F? See university Academic Regulation 90).
  • Composition of final grade (Portion of grade related to exams, papers, activities, etc. Map to learning outcomes.).
  • Attendance policy (number of allowed absences before grades are impacted; attendance cannot count for more than 25% of the course grade).
  • WSUV Reasonable Accommodation Statement: “Reasonable accommodations are available for students with a documented disability. If you have a disability and need accommodations to fully participate in this class, please contact the Access Center at 360-546-9238 or van.access.center@wsu.edu. The Access Center is located in the Classroom Building (VCLS) room 160. Accommodations may take some time to implement so it is critical that you contact the Access Center as soon as possible.”
  • WSU Academic Integrity Statement: Academic integrity is the cornerstone of higher education. As such, all members of the university community share responsibility for maintaining and promoting the principles of integrity in all activities, including academic integrity and honest scholarship. Academic integrity will be strongly enforced in this course. Students who violate WSU’s Academic Integrity Policy (identified in Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 504-26-010(3) and -404) will receive [insert academic sanction (e.g., fail the course, fail the assignment, etc.)], will not have the option to withdraw from the course pending an appeal, and will be reported to the Office of Student Conduct.
    Cheating includes, but is not limited to, plagiarism and unauthorized collaboration as defined in the Standards of Conduct for Students, WAC 504-26-010(3). You need to read and understand all of the definitions of cheating: http://app.leg.wa.gov/WAC/default.aspx?cite=504-26-010. If you have any questions about what is and is not allowed in this course, you should ask course instructors before proceeding.
    If you wish to appeal a faculty member's decision relating to academic integrity, please use the form available at https://studentaffairs.vancouver.wsu.edu/student-affairs/student-conduct. If you have any questions about the process on the Vancouver campus, please call Helen Gregory at 360-546-9573.
  • Emergency Notification System: “WSU has made an emergency notification system available for faculty, students, and staff. Please register at zzusis with emergency contact information (cell, email, text, etc.). You may have been prompted to complete emergency contact information when registering for classes at RONet. In the event of a building evacuation, a map at each classroom entrance shows the evacuation point for each building. Please refer to it. Finally, in case of class cancellation campus-wide, please check local media, the WSU Vancouver web page and/or http://www.flashalert.net/. Individual class cancellations may be made at the discretion of the instructor. Each individual is expected to make the best decision for their personal circumstances, taking safety into account. Safety plan website.”