Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

You are here

Summer Syllabus Design Workshops

alesnick's picture

Welcome to the community page for entering Bryn Mawr and Haverford College faculty exploring syllabus development -- in the BiCo context! 

Here you will find small sampler of readings and syllabi.  You are welcome to address questions and comments to workshop leader Alice Lesnick (

The discussion series is in three sessions, with each session including a range of perspectives and practical wisdom from current and former students. Session 1 and 2 will be offered in both an online and in-person format; Session 3 will take place in person new faculty during orientation.

Entry Questions

  • What 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 syllabus, and how do you mediate them in the text?
  • Who or what is privileged by your syllabus? Who or what is obscured, eclipsed, excised?
  • How do you imagine students using/interacting with/challenging/informing your syllabus? 

Syllabus Design Workshop 1 & 2 Agenda and Notes 

Syllabus Design Workshop 3, August 2016


Related Readings

On The Syllabus (for session 1)

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) 

Volk, The Dual Life of a Syllabus

Assessible Syllabus,


Additional Selected Resources on syllabus and course design

Fink, Guide to Course Design (for more here, see L. Dee Fink's (2013) Creating Significant Learning Experiences: An Integrated Approach to Designing College Courses)

Lang, The 3 Essential Functions of Your Syllabus, Part 1

Universal Design for Learning:

Universal Design for Learning in a Multimedia Environment:

Wesley, Did You Assign Enough Reading? Or Too Much?

Judith Baker, Trilingualism


Bryn Mawr College and Haverford College Honor Codes

Bryn Mawr College Honor Code 


Haverford College Honor Code


A Small Sampler of Recent Syllabi from Bryn Mawr and Haverford Faculty

Prof. Alice Lesnick, (BMC/HC Education), Education 200: Critical Issues in Education

Prof. Ken Koltun-Fromm and Laurie Allen, (Magill Library): Religion 128: Reading Sacred Texts

Prof. Ken Koltun-Fromm and Dean Theresa Tensuan (Religion and English, HC) Drawing the Line: Autobiography as Graphic Narrative

Prof. Jenny Spohrer, (History, BMC) History 240: Europe Since 1945

Prof. Anne Dalke (English and Gender Studies, BMC) Balch Seminar: Changing our Story: /oneworld/changing-our-story-2015/sylla-ship-changing-our-story-fall-2015

Prof. Anne Dalke (English and Gender Studies, BMC) Rhetorics of Silence (part of Arts of Resistance 360): /oneworld/arts-resistance/rhetorics-silence-f15-sylla-ship

Prof. David Ross, (Economics, BMC) Econ 242: Economics of Local Environmental Programs

Prof. Amy Myers, (Math, BMC) Math 101: Calculus 1

Prof. Joel Schlosser (BMC, Political Science) On The Human Condition: The Political Thinking of Hannah Arendt


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?

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.)

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


Culturally Relevant/Sustaining Pedagogy

Kennth Jones & Tema Okun, White Supremacy Culture: from Dismantling Racism: A Workbook for Social Change Groups -- A list of characteristics of white supremacy culture that show up in our institutions.

Paris, D. (2012). Culturally sustaning pedagogy, A needed change in stance, termology and practice. Educational Researcher, 41,3, 93-97.

Religious Holidays,