Sample Syllabus Language
Sample 1: This class requires participation in discussion to meet course learning outcomes. We are a class comprised of individuals. As such, there will be multiple opinions expressed throughout the semester that you may not personally agree with or even understand - as may be expected. My role as an instructor is to facilitate the expression of ideas that are relevant to the course, credible, open, and respectful. Conversations informed by diverse viewpoints contribute to critical thinking and higher-level learning. Even if you don’t agree, listening to different points of view may give you further insight into your own perspectives. If you feel uncomfortable with how content in the course is presented or discussed, please contact me for further conversation or, if you feel comfortable doing so, you may say so in class in a manner that aligns with our class expectations (see below – add your expectations here).
Sample 2: My role as an instructor is to facilitate academic discussions and promote critical thinking about sometimes challenging and uncomfortable facts and ideas. Your peers and instructor may share diverse ideas and viewpoints, or we may differ in our ideas and viewpoints, but we will always be respectful of other opinions as expected in an academic environment. At times we will need to move on from a discussion without resolving differences.
Sample 3: Fundamental to Florida International University’s mission is support for an environment where divergent ideas, theories, and philosophies can be openly exchanged and critically evaluated. Consistent with these principles, this course may involve discussion of ideas that you find uncomfortable, disagreeable, or even offensive. These ideas are intended to be presented in an objective manner and not as an endorsement of what you should personally believe. Objective means that the idea presented can be tested by critical peer review and rigorous debate, and that the idea is supported by credible research. Not all ideas can be supported by objective methods or criteria. Regardless, you may decide that certain ideas are worthy of your personal belief. In this course, however, you may be asked to engage with complex ideas and to demonstrate an understanding of the ideas. Understanding and/or engaging with an idea does not mean that you are required to believe it or agree with it.
Guide students on how they can address situations or conversations that make them uncomfortable.
For example, you may add the following to your syllabus along with one of the statements above (or something similar). If you feel uncomfortable with how content in the course is presented or discussed, please contact me for further conversation or, if you feel comfortable doing so, you may say so in class in a manner that aligns with our class expectations (see below – add your expectations here).