Julie's Inbox

December
2010
Julie Adams, Executive Director

Dear Julie,

Recently, some California university faculty asked to see syllabi for a course that is already articulated through the course outline of record. Should we submit syllabi to the university faculty? Shouldn't the course of outline be enough?

Already Articulated

Dear A.A.,

Your question is one that comes up occasionally for community college faculty who rely on the articulation process to pave transfer pathways for students. University faculty work from syllabi for courses, and community college faculty work from an official course outline of record, and articulation is from one institution to another institution, not from one faculty member to another. As department chairs change within the respective universities and colleges, sometimes faculty forget about basic differences between our systems and the underlying premise of the articulation process.

We recommend not submitting syllabi to university faculty for articulation purposes. Instead, try to work with the university faculty and your articulation officer to communicate the features of the course as specified in the official course outline of record. Your articulation officer might have some additional ideas on how to work with university faculty when questions come up. Determining a reason for the request for syllabi might be beneficial, and maintaining good working relationships across faculty ultimately supports students. It should be emphasized that a given syllabus is merely a sample of how the COR is implemented by a single instructor. If a request for syllabi persists, then we suggest sending syllabi that best reflect the course as it is taught at your college. Note that mode of delivery (i.e. distance education or online instruction) has never been a component of the articulation process.

However, reviewing syllabi for all sections of a single course is beneficial for community college discipline faculty to check for consistencies in pacing, course content, and SLOs. Some faculty evaluation processes include a review of an instructor's syllabus for the course. You might try an exercise with your discipline faculty: collect all syllabi for a course, remove any information that identifies the instructor, and then exchange syllabi and look for strengths and weaknesses in the syllabi to see how students are served by these documents and how the course content is addressed. Keep in mind that faculty have academic freedom in how the course content in delivered and that freedom must be balanced with meeting the obligations of the course outline of record.

If you have further concerns about university faculty requesting syllabi from faculty, please send the specifics to the Senate office.

Good luck!
From the Executive Committee

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