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ERIC Number: EJ788985
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Mar-14
Pages: 1
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-0009-5982
The Syllabus Becomes a Repository of Legalese
Wasley, Paula
Chronicle of Higher Education, v54 n27 pA1 Mar 2008
Course syllabi have long been as varied as the instructors who composed them. Indeed, many faculty members are loath to share them, for fear of intellectual theft. Increasingly the contemporary syllabus is becoming more like a legal document, full of all manner of exhortations, proscriptions, and enunciations of class and institutional policy--often in minute detail that seems more appropriate for a courtroom than a classroom. With its ever-lengthening number of contingency clauses, disclaimers, and provisos, the college syllabus can bear as much resemblance to a prenuptial agreement as it does to an expression of intellectual enterprise. But experts say that when things go wrong in the classroom, fuzzy expectations are almost always to blame. Some teaching experts applaud the thoroughness as a coup for student learning. The comprehensive syllabus, they say, simultaneously protects the professor and prepares students for the demands of the course. Other experts contend that documents bloated with legalese and laundry lists of dos and don'ts have turned the teacher-student relationship into an adversarial one.
Chronicle of Higher Education. 1255 23rd Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 800-728-2803; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A