Teaching-related Policies at UIC

Jennifer Tobin, Associate Professor
Departments of Classics and Mediterranean Studies and
[email protected]
• Required for all courses
• Collected every semester by the instructor’s
home unit
• First point of communication with students
• Roadmap for your course
Studies indicate:
The more explicit the syllabus is in objectives,
content, instruction resources and grading
components, the better the student performs.
Serafin (1990)
Competency based syllabi in which student
competencies to be developed were outlined and
explained resulted in improved student
Kern (1990)
Course Goals
• Address your students in the first person
• State the course goals in terms of what
students can do (leads to specifics that
students can interpret)
• Be excited about your material
This course is designed to familiarize the
student with the art, architecture, history
and culture of Ancient Egypt, from
Predynastic times in the 4th millennium
BC through the end of the New Kingdom
(ca. 1000 BC)
In this course you will study the art, architecture, history
and religion of Ancient Egypt, from its origins in
Predynastic times in the 4th millennium BCE through the
end of the New Kingdom in 1000 BCE. You will learn
what elements unified the nation and made it the foremost
society in antiquity, and what pressures ultimately
destroyed it. In between you will study such topics as how
the pyramids were built, why Hatshepsut, a female
pharaoh, dressed like a man, and what really killed King
Tut. The ultimate goal of this class is to train you to think
like an archaeologist, to use assessment tools to
understand how and why artifacts and architecture were
created and what role they played in Egyptian society.
Ideally you will leave this course with a deep appreciation
of the achievements and challenges of the ancient
Egyptians; in essence you will have learned to think like an
Course Policies
Attendance and tardiness
Late/missing work and missed exams
Student Courtesy suggestions
Computer use, eating in class, etc.
• Punitive vs. Rewarding
• Use of positive motivators
• Providing pedagogical rationales for policies
Studies indicate:
Classroom incivilities such as tardiness,
inappropriate cell phone and computer use and
others are linked to the absence of positive
motivators by the instructor
Boice (1998)
Students encountering syllabi using a punitive
tone are less likely to ask for help from the
1st and 2nd–year students are particularly
sensitive to the wording of syllabi
Ishiyama and Hartlaub (2002)
If for some substantial reason you cannot turn in
your papers or take an exam at the scheduled
time you must contact me prior to the due date,
or test date, or you will be graded down 20%.
If for some substantial reason you cannot turn in
your papers or take an exam at the scheduled
time you should contact me prior to the due date,
or test date, or you will only be eligible for 80% of
the total points.
Ishiyama and Hartlaub (2002)
Attendance is MANDATORY. Role will be
taken at the beginning of each class. Five or
more unexcused absences will be penalized at
the end of term by the final grade being dropped
by ten points (the equivalent of a full grade). To
have an absence excused you must present me
with documentation (i.e. a doctor’s note or other
official record).
Attendance is required. Because I will show
you approximately 50 slides in a day and cover
material that is not always found in the textbooks,
it is in your best interests to attend class
regularly. I will take role at the beginning of each
class. Missing a class due to illness or other
unforeseen circumstances will receive no penalty
as long as the absence is supported by
documentation (i.e. a doctor’s note or other
official record). I will penalize five or more
unexcused absences by dropping your final
grade by ten points (the equivalent of a full
Methods of Evaluation
• Midterm Grades
• Final Examinations
– Must take place during the 16th week of the
– Dates and times scheduled by the Office of
Classroom Scheduling
– No formal instruction can take place during
exam week
Undergraduate Success Center (USC)
Learning Centers
Counseling Services
Students are more likely to seek help from the
instructor when she explicitly offers outside
help. This is especially true when the offer
appears in the syllabus.
Perinne, Lisle and Tucker (1995)
Click to edit subtitle
• Required for all courses with more than 10
enrolled students
• To be administered close to the end of term
• Campus Service (though the Office for
Faculty Affairs): students do the evaluations
on-line in class or at home
• The instructor’s home unit may choose to
create its own set of evaluations, in either
paper or electronic form
• The office for Faculty Affairs will maintain
electronic records of student evaluations
• Instructors will also receive electronic copies
• For Students
– Provides a means for anonymous feedback
to their instructors.
• For Faculty
– Mechanism to receive student feedback on
course content, course process and
procedures, and teaching approach.
– Student evaluations are used in the tenure
review process and when considering the
criterion for teaching excellence
• Most departments require these yearly for
untenured or tenure-track faculty
• Senior faculty member observes a class and
writes an assessment which is usually
shared with the instructor
• These assessments are placed in the
instructor’s file
• Valuable feedback from experienced faculty
• Regular peer assessments can document
improvement in teaching
• Opportunity to show your talents in the
• Peer evaluations are used in the tenure review
• Maintain your own file of evaluations (both
electronic and letters from peer reviewers)
• Consider inviting a member of another related
department to assess your teaching
• Highly encouraged for 000 and 100-level
• Midterm grades can be entered on the
Banner Class Roster during a one-week
period mid-semester
• Grades are not recorded on the student’s
permanent record
• Students can view midterm grades via
• Advisors can also see these grades
• For Students
– Provides them with feedback on where they
stand in the course
• For Advisors
– Mechanism that allows advisors to reach
out to students who appear to be struggling
• For Faculty
– Means to recognize a student in trouble
• Schedule several assessments (tests, writing
projects, homework assignments) before the
middle of the semester
• Publish midterm grades in 200-level and
above courses on Blackboard or your class
• Explain to your students how their midterm
grade might predict their final grade
• Encourage students at risk to visit you in your
office hours
Ambrose, S.A. et al.(2010), How Learning Works: 7 Researchbased Principles for Smart Teaching. San Francisco, CA:
Jossey-Bass Publications
Boice, R. (1998). Classroom incivilities. In K.A. Feldman & M.B.
Paulson (Eds), Teaching and learning in the college classroom.
Needham Heights, MA: Simon & Schuster Custom Publications
Ishiyama, J., and Hartlaub, S. (2002). Does the wording of syllabi
affect student course assessment in introductory political science
classes? PS: Political Science and Politics, 567-570
Kern, R. 1990. “Use Of Competency-Based Course Syllabus and
Its Effects on Student Performance in Introductory Computer
Courses.” Community/Junior College Quarterly of Research and
Practice 14:115–22.
O’Brien, Judith Grunert et al. (2008), The Course syllabus: A
Learning-Centered Approach, San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass
Perrine, Rose M., James Lisle, and Debbie L. Tucker. 1995.
Effects of a Syllabus Offer of Help, Student Age, and Class Size
on College Students’ Willingness to Seek Support from Faculty.
The Journal of Experimental Education 64:41–52.
Serafin, Ana Gil. 1990. Course Syllabi and Their Effects on
Students’ Final Grade Performance. Bloomington: Indiana
University, ERIC Clearinghouse for Social Studies/Social Science
Education, ERIC: ED328202

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