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Summer Syllabus Development Workshop / Bryn Mawr College * Teaching and Learning Institute *

alesnick's picture

Welcome to the community page for entering Bryn Mawr College faculty exploring syllabus development in context.  

Here you will find an outline of workshop sessions, associated readings, and a public discussion forum where you are invited to pose questions and share ideas.  You are also/alternatively invited to address these to workshop leader Alice Lesnick (

For agendas and our notes on the sessions, visit the Google Doc (no sign-in required).

To begin, some sample syllabi from the BiCo:

Image from Over and Over Again

Session 1: Introductions; Inquiry into principles and practices; Contexts of practice

* Entry Questions

What do you think are the most important purposes/functions of a syllabus?  

Are any of these in conflict with one another?  If so, how do or how might you address these conflicts?
What/who are the various audiences for your syllabi, and how do you mediate them in the text?

How do you imagine students using/interacting with/challenging/informing your syllabus? 

* Introducing the Honor Code, assessment practices (norms/range/variation), formulating questions for panelists (Session 2)

Session 2: College Contexts

Faculty, Staff, Student panel on courses in situ

Moodle ways and means

Discussion of sample syllabi: learning goals, sources of academic support, assignments

Session 3 

Informal Workshop/Feedback session on syllabi-in-progress

Discussion of challenges and opportunities of the semester's opening days



Related Readings


On The Syllabus

Lang, The Promising Syllabus

Lang, On Course: The Syllabus

TLI, What Students Hope for in a Syllabus

TLI, What Students Hope for in a Syllabus (responses of graduates)

On Grading and Assessment

"Will This Be on the Test?" An Overemphasis on Grades Might Be Killing the Desire to Learn - Education - GOOD

Michael Watson, What is Mastery?

Articles by and about Duke Univ's Cathy Davidson's novel approach to grading

Peter Elbow's "Ranking, Evaluating, and Liking: Sorting Out Three Forms of Judgment."  (College English, 55 (2), Feb. 1993, 187-206.)  Available at:

This is a classic piece from Literacy Studies, with resonance for others.  

Brief blog post using Elbow's framework as support for inspiring hope rather than fear in teaching:

For resources and and documentation of faculty working group on assessment that met for two years, visit its Serendip page.


On Portfolios

Bryn Mawr College Honor Code Information

The Code


Haverford College Honor Code

The Code


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