The syllabus is often one of the most important documents we craft as faculty members. During a presentation when Lynne Meade was discussing guidelines for student civility during difficult discussions in the classroom, she said she has an “I expect” section in her syllabus inspired by Ro DiBrezzo. This section outlines the expectations that she has for students in her classroom. This allows the faculty member to communicate what exactly is required in the class and give students a clear outline of what they can and cannot do. For example, we can tell students that we expect them to put away distractions during class, that they should give their best effort at doing the readings ahead of time, that they are expected to be respectful during in class discussions and not interrupt one another, etc.
In response to Meade’s suggestion, Anna Zajicek suggested that we should also include a “You can expect” section which outlines what students can expect from us. This gives us an opportunity to inform the students what we will do for them. We can highlight our policies and responses, for instance when can they expect to receive an email response from us? What resources will we give them if they are struggling, etc.