Proposal outlines new syllabus recommendations to faculty

Aimee Burch

On Tuesday, the Faculty Senate will vote on a proposal outlining new recommendations for faculty to include in their course syllabi.

The major clarification detailed in the proposal includes a formal definition for Dead Week and the guidelines that should be followed during that time period.

In the proposal, it is stated that during this last week of classes, faculty need to adopt certain guidelines. One of these guidelines says that professors may not give mandatory final exams during Dead Week except in the cases of laboratory courses and courses that only meet once a week who do not meet during the normal finals week. However, exams that are take-home in nature or small quizzes worth no more than 10 percent of a student’s grade will be accepted.

Another guideline regarding Dead Week mentions that all major course assignments must be assigned before Dead Week begins. This is to allow students time to complete the assignment in a sufficient time manner. According to the proposal, the last day students should have to turn these assignments in would be the Friday prior to Dead Week. Class presentations and semester-long projects would be exempt from this requirement.

Government of the Student Body President Dakota Hoben spoke to the senate about this proposal at last February’s meeting. He said that while many of the recommendations have long been established, the Dead Week proposal will further assert the rights students have in the classroom.

“This just combines the policies and requirements,” Hoben said. “The proposal makes students aware of the issue and what many believe is right.”

Other areas covered in the proposal include directing students to the Dean of Students Office website about issues regarding academic dishonesty, as well as guidelines rephrasing the disability accommodations section required in syllabi. Harassment and discrimination and religious accommodations will also have new recommendations for faculty to include.

While faculty is required to cover certain subjects in their respective syllabi, they are not required to word the sections any one way. What matters most, Hoben said, is that the subjects get covered and students are made aware of the policies.

“This just combines some of the clutter and makes faculty more accountable,” Hoben said.

He believes that students suffer from an information disadvantage, and hopes this proposal will make that information more readily available.

If a student feels their rights are being violated in any way, the proposal calls for a new email account to be established to address these issues. If it passes, students will be able to email [email protected] and have the opportunity to express their feelings to the administration. At the meeting in February, it was said that Associate Provost David Holger’s office would be in charge of handling that email account.

Hoben expects this proposal to make the classroom experience better.

“This is a way to expand the student-centered environment in the classroom Iowa State is known for,” he said.