Early syllabus release in question

Every semester, Northern Kentucky University students like senior English major Angela Turner register for a course, go to the first day of the course, take a glance over the course syllabus and never come back.

It’s all part of a cycle that leaves students registering in-and-out of available courses, in order to find one that matches their individual learning styles; a factor that Student Government Association Senator Tanner Elrod believes is important to the success of students.

Conclusively, Elrod has tried to break this cycle, through a resolution he presented at SGA’s Nov. 12 meeting.

The resolution recommended the posting of course syllabuses to the course registration system by respective professors, prior to course registration. According to the resolution, the syllabuses would be placed in an online “syllabi bank” that would make the course decision process easier for students.

Students around campus, such as Turner, showed positive reactions to the reading of this resolution.

“If this idea was put into effect, you would have a lot less stress and wouldn’t have to shop around for classes during the first week of school,” Turner said. “Not everyone is able to bounce back after a stressful first week of moving in-and-out of classes. This could be beneficial so that you’re not already playing catch up after just one week of school.”

According to Professional Concerns Committee Chair Jeffrey Williams, some professors have worried about posting their syllabuses online in fear that they could be copied by people or professors at other universities;,allowing the professors’ courses to lose their uniqueness or originality.

However, Williams also said that he can’t predict how the Faculty Senate would react if presented with the resolution, but that he is “cautiously optimistic” that the vast majority of the Senate would be able to work things out in order to adhere to the recommendations offered by the resolution.

Regardless, Turner believes that at the very least, students who request to see course syllabuses prior to registration, should be given access in order for them to make a more well-informed decision.
SGA President Erik Pederson also believes that students should have access to course syllabuses prior to registration. Pederson feels that any fears of professors’ syllabuses being copied by others could be avoided via a security sign-in verification, that would only allow current NKU students to access the proposed syllabus bank.

This resolution is expected to be read for a second time at the Nov. 19 meeting where, according to Pederson, it is expected to pass and then be presented to the Faculty Senate for further review.
While some discrepancies with the resolution still remain, the overall feel from both students and faculty across campus has been positive.