Higher Education

The Power of the Syllabus

A short video clip focused on how the syllabus can be used to let students know you’re there for them

Hear how using the syllabus to offer help or other campus resources can make a big difference at the start of the semester.


Susanna Gallor:

I do try to focus a lot on the syllabus as an interactive kind of experience and part of the first class, not so much a contract. But I spend a lot of time going through my syllabus and I have these mental health statements. I have statements about having basic needs insecurities. And if that’s the case, again, just trying to put it out there that I’m just an invitation, that I don’t know if I’ll be able to help, but that I understand these things do happen and that these things are part of a lot of our students’ lives, and I can be someone that you can at least come to and I will try to help connect you. I will try to help you figure out how to get the support that you need. I know about different things on campus you might not know about and that’s it.

So I think the syllabus could be a good way, at least to invite that conversation. And I sometimes have a quiz or something like a live poll about things that are in the syllabus to see like, okay, what do you remember from the syllabus that we just went over? And I try to engage them to just talk about the syllabus and that’s it. So that’s one thing I do that I think is a starting point for that conversation.