Fall 2018 Syllabus Letter

August 7, 2018

Dear Colleagues:

With Fall term 2018 upon us, let me share several ideas to help our students be successful in your class. New content as compared to the fall 2017 letter is denoted as red italicized text. Please also bookmark the new Instructional Support Portal, which was implemented to help instructors find information and resources more easily.

Syllabus Basics
  • Per our Student Bill of Rights, all instructors will provide course objectives, requirements, and grading policies for their courses, typically as part of the syllabus. A sample syllabus format, listing of campus resources, and the Purdue University Course Procedures can be found at the Center for Instructional Excellence (CIE).
  • Consider adding your syllabus to Purdue Course Insights. This site is a syllabus archiving system where students and advisors can conveniently view course syllabi from previous semesters. Developed in response to a request from Purdue Student Government, this feature in myPurdue makes it easy for faculty to make their syllabi available to the University community.
Academic Integrity
  • Syllabus statement. As we continue to promote academic integrity, consider adding this sentence to your syllabus. “Academic integrity is one of the highest values that Purdue University holds. Individuals are encouraged to alert university officials to potential breeches of this value by either emailing integrity@purdue.edu or by calling 765‐494‐8778. While information may be submitted anonymously, the more information that is submitted provides the greatest opportunity for the university to investigate the concern.”
  • Purdue Honors Pledge. Everyone is asked to prominently include the student‐initiated Purdue Honors Pledge on their syllabus, as well as exams and key assignments. The statement as written by our own students is “As a boilermaker pursuing academic excellence, I pledge to be honest and true in all that I do. Accountable together ‐we are Purdue.” You may use this link to a web page for Purdue’s Honor Pledge in your syllabi.
  • Commercial Websites. Our instructors treat various materials that appear on commercial web pages very differently, causing confusion among students. Examples include web pages like Course Hero, Chegg, or Quizlet. It is not uncommon to find answer keys to old exams or homework. In the worst case, students can find online services to complete the work for them.
    • In general, notes are “considered to be ‘derivative works’ of the instructor's presentations and materials, and they are thus subject to the instructor's copyright in such presentations and materials.” As such, they cannot be sold or bartered without your express written permission. See the policy with regard to commercial note taking in classes that you may wish to include in your syllabus (see part J of the Purdue student misc. conduct regulations).
    • Thus, be clear in your syllabus as to whether your materials may posted or considered to be derivative works.
  • Your course syllabus should provide clarity about your attendance policy.
    • Our student regulations regarding attendance are lengthy, providing guidance only for cases of bereavement or military leave. In all other cases, the concluding language sets the general expectation that “[t]he University expects both students and their instructors tapproach problems with class attendance in a manner that is reasonable”.
    • Expect some absences for a variety of reasons. Make it clear that the student bears the responsibility of informing the instructor in a timely fashion, when possible.
    • The general expectation of instructors is ttry taccommodate the student either by excusing the student or allowing the student tmake up work, when possible.
    • If any instructor has questions about student absences, they should contact the Dean of Students Office at odos@purdue.edu or call 765‐494‐1747.
    • Note that PUSH does not provide students with “excuse” notes. Unless the student is acutely ill, there is nothing for PUSH tverify. Instead, encourage students tcommunicate with you as soon as possible, in the event of an illness, sthat you can work together for a positive solution ttheir absence. In situations where a student is hospitalized or may need tghome for medical care, the Dean of Students will notify the student’s faculty.
    • The University recognizes that the learning mission can be enhanced significantly by extracurricular experiences. Students participating in University‐sponsored activities should be permitted tmake up class work missed as a result of this participation. Ultimately students are responsible for all required coursework and bear full responsibility for any academic consequences that may result due to absence
Diversity & Inclusion
  • Purdue University is committed to maintaining a community which recognizes and values the inherent worth and dignity of every person; fosters tolerance, sensitivity, understanding, and mutual respect among its members; and encourages each individual to strive to reach his or her own potential. In pursuit of its goal of academic excellence, the University seeks to develop and nurture diversity. The University believes that diversity among its many members strengthens the institution, stimulates creativity, promotes the exchange of ideas, and enriches campus life. Purdue’s nondiscrimination policy can be found here.
Emergency Procedures
  • A two‐page supplement at the end of this letter provides resources to communicate or engage with your students in case of unexpected emergencies that affect the West Lafayette campus. Emergency notification is vital! Please consider allowing one or more of the following options to ensure you are quickly notified of an emergency.
    • Keep your cell phone on to receive a Purdue ALERT text message.
    • Log into a Purdue computer connected to the network…will receive any Desktop Popup
    • Alerts.
    • If you have a “no cell phone” in class policy allow one or two students who have signed up for Purdue ALERT to keep their phones on to receive any alerts.
  • Every syllabus should provide clarity on how a student earns their grade. Items to include are:
    • What type(s) of student work (e.g., exams, homework, quizzes, projects, term papers, etc.) are used to determine the grade, and what is the contribution of each type to the determination of the grade?
    • What are the numerical ranges for each letter grade?
    • Whether late assignments will be accepted and any grading penalties for late assignments.
    • For certain classes, how is team based work evaluated?
    • What is the effect of academic dishonesty on a student’s grade?
Mental Health Syllabus Statement
  • On the recommendation of the University Senate, we are also asked to share the following on your syllabus about resources for mental health.
    • CAPS Information: Purdue University is committed to advancing the mental health and well‐ being of its students. If you or someone you know is feeling overwhelmed, depressed, and/or in need of support, services are available. For help, such individuals should contact Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) at (765)494‐6995 and here during and after hours, on weekends and holidays, or through its counselors physically located in the Purdue University Student Health Center (PUSH) during business hours.
Students with Disabilities
  • The Disability Resource Center (DRC) is a resource for students and instructors. Students may present a “Letter of Accommodation” to you at any point in the semester. Should you have questions about accommodations, please contact the DRC at: 494‐1247 or drc@purdue.edu. In many cases the DRC can partner with you to develop inclusive teaching strategies that benefit all students in your class.
  • Accessibility and Accommodations Syllabus Statement: The DRC recommends the following statement be included in your syllabus. “Purdue University strives to make learning experiences as accessible as possible. If you anticipate or experience physical or academic barriers based on disability, you are welcome to let me know so that we can discuss options. You are also encouraged to contact the Disability Resource Center at: drc@purdue.edu or by phone: 765‐494‐1247.” 
  • If you require a text, be sure that your students understand your expectations for its use. In MyPurdue; look for “My Textbooks” under the Faculty Tools quick links so you can verify the materials you have specified for your courses. Amazon is Purdue’s official book store, meaning we must share with Amazon the courses materials used in our courses.
Preparing for Summer Session 2018
  1. Key dates
    • Classes begin on May, 14, 2018.
    • Monday, May 28 is Memorial Day.
    • ICP Reporting is due by the second week of each module.
    • Wednesday, July 4 is Independence Day.
    • The last day of class is August 3, 2018.
    • Grades are due by 5:00 pm Tuesday, August 7.
    • Commencement is August 4.
  2. Blackboard Learn and the Faculty Tab at MyPurdue contain important information. For your course roster and grade roster use Blackboard Learn and the “preferred name” list. This will ensure you have the list with the names that students prefer you use to address them. Under the Faculty Tab at My Purdue you can find meeting times, and rooms. You will have to log in using your career account and password, and be FERPA certified.
  3. ITAP teaching & learning technologies provide a wide range of support. This includes help on setting up Blackboard Learn, requesting email lists for your courses, and many other programs, such as Signals, BoilerCast, iClicker, and much more. Besides workshops and training sessions, email tlt‐ consulting@purdue.edu for individual consultations.
  4. Again, review the attendance and grief absence policy the regulation, and consider its application in your class. The University recognizes that the learning mission can be enhanced significantly by extracurricular experiences. Students participating in University‐sponsored activities should be permitted to make up classwork missed as a result of this participation. Ultimately students are responsible for all required coursework and bear full responsibility for any academic consequences that may result due to absence.
  5. Instructions for the Initial Course Participation (ICP) Reporting will be sent to you no later than the first day of the term from your departmental schedule deputy. If you use Blackboard Learn for at least one assignment or test due before your ICP reporting date, and the student completes it, ICP will automatically be reported for you. If you have questions about this deadline, you may email the Office of the Registrar at registrar@purdue.edu or visit ICP Reporting for a list of Q&A’s.
  6. Does your course involve an industry sponsored class project? If yes, new procedures have been developed for handling the agreements, payments and intellectual property rights. Please review the specifics at the following web site.
  7. For additional questions or assistance with a specific industry‐sponsored student class project, please email Legal Counsel at legalcounsel@purdue.edu . You can also contact Ken Sandel (765) 494‐1063 or sandel@purdue.edu.
Guidelines for Academic Integrity

In a society that increasingly questions the value of higher education upholding academic integrity takes on added significance. The time and effort necessary to champion high expectations of academic integrity are well understood, and the University is in full support of faculty and instructors who uphold these standards. Please consider these five steps for your class.

  1. Define academic dishonesty for your class in your syllabus. A faculty guide is located at here. I encourage you to emphasize this part of your syllabus on the first day of class. You also may wish to revisit your expectations at key junctures of the semester (e.g., before an exam or term project).
  2. Provide greater clarity to students about what is acceptable and unacceptable. Some classes routinely use team assignments and encourage collaboration for projects, labs, or homework. Yet at other times of the term, students are expected to work independently. Be very clear about your expectations for each assignment.
  3. Students should to be told prior to – and as part of – the instructions on each test what is acceptable in terms of notes, phones, calculators, etc. From class to class our practices vary widely so, here again, it’s important to be very clear in your expectations.
  4. Fourth, define what penalties that be enforced a student is caught. One example might be:
    Incidents of academic misconduct in this course will be addressed by the course instructor and referred to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities (OSRR) for review at the university level. Any violation of course policies as it relates to academic integrity will result minimally in a failing or zero grade for that particular assignment, and at the instructor’s discretion may result in a failing grade for the course. In addition, all incidents of academic misconduct will be forwarded to OSRR, where university penalties, including removal from the university, may be considered.
  5. At a minimum, if you penalize a student’s grade by deducting points, report the instance of scholastic dishonesty to the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities (OSSR). One reason it is important to report all incidents to ensure consistent treatment both at the course level and across the institution. Staff members from OSRR are available to consult on an individual basis. Their office is in B50 of Schleman Hall, and their phone is 494‐1250.
  6. Finally, faculty and instructors have raised concerns about student academic integrity. At the same time, students have indicated that some instructors appear reluctant to uphold academic standards. I ask that you be clear in your syllabus on the steps you will take in your class to uphold academic integrity. In addition, students should be made aware that they can report issues of academic integrity that they observe, either through the Office of the Dean of Students (purdue.edu/odos), call 765‐494‐ 8778 or email integrity@purdue.edu.
  1. Prior to the first day of class, obtain a copy of the building emergency plan for each building in which you will be teaching. Note the evacuation route and assembly area, as well as the shelter in place locations. BEPs are located on the Emergency Preparedness website
  2. On the first day of class, the following information is required to be presented to students:

As we begin this semester I want to take a few minutes and discuss emergency preparedness. Purdue University is a very safe campus and there is a low probability that a serious incident will occur here at Purdue. However, just as we receive a “safety briefing” each time we get on an aircraft, we want to emphasize our emergency procedures for evacuation and shelter in place incidents. Our preparedness will be critical IF an unexpected event occurs!

Emergency preparedness is your personal responsibility. Purdue University is actively preparing for natural disasters or human‐caused incidents with the ultimate goal of maintaining a safe and secure campus. Let’s review the following procedures:

  • For any emergency call 911.
  • There are nearly 300 Emergency Telephone Systems throughout campus that connect directly to the Purdue Police Department (PUPD). If you feel threatened or need help, push the button and you will be connected to the PUPD.
  • If we hear a fire alarm we will immediately evacuate the building and proceed to_____________________ (location). o Do not use the elevator. o Go over evacuation route…see specific Building Emergency Plan.
  • If we are notified of a Shelter in Place requirement for a tornado warning we will shelter in the lowest level of this building away from windows and doors. Our preferred location is ________________.
  • If we are notified of a Shelter in Place requirement for a hazardous materials release we will shelter in our classroom shutting any open doors and windows.
  • If we are notified of a Shelter in Place requirement for an active threat such as a shooting we will shelter in a room that is securable preferably without windows. Our preferred location is ________________.

(NOTE: Each building will have different evacuation & shelter locations. The specific Building Emergency Plan will provide specific locations and procedures)

Attached to the syllabus is an “Emergency Preparedness for Classrooms” sheet that provides additional preparedness information. Please review the sheet and the Emergency Preparedness website for additional emergency preparedness information.


EMERGENCY NOTIFICATION PROCEDURES are based on a simple concept – if you hear a fire alarm inside, proceed outside. If you hear a siren outside, proceed inside.

  • Indoor Fire Alarms mean to stop class or research and immediately evacuate the building.
  • Proceed to your Emergency Assembly Area away from building doors. Remain outside until police, fire, or other emergency response personnel provide additional guidance or tell you it is safe to leave.
  • All Hazards Outdoor Emergency Warning Sirens mean to immediately seek shelter (Shelter in Place) in a safe location within the closest building.
    • o “Shelter in place” means seeking immediate shelter inside a building or University residence. This course of action may need to be taken during a tornado, an active threat including a shooting or release of hazardous materials in the outside air. Once safely inside, find out more details about the emergency*. Remain in place until police, fire, or other emergency response personnel provide additional guidance or tell you it is safe to leave.

    *In both cases, you should seek additional clarifying information by all means possible…Purdue Emergency Status page, text message, Twitter, Desktop Alert, Albertus Beacon, digital signs, email alert, TV, radio, etc.…review the Purdue Emergency Warning Notification System multi‐communication layers here

    • Review the Emergency Procedures Guidelines Review the Building Emergency Plan (available on the Emergency Preparedness website or from the building deputy) for:
      • evacuation routes, exit points, and emergency assembly area
      • when and how to evacuate the building.
      • shelter in place procedures and locations
      • additional building specific procedures and requirements.
    • "Run. Hide. Fight.®" is a 6‐minute active shooter awareness video that illustrates what to look for and how to prepare and react to this type of incident. See: Video (Link is also located on the EP website)
    MORE INFORMATION Reference the Emergency Preparedness web site for additional information.
  • Teaching and Learning

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