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Recommended Additional Syllabus Content

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In addition to the required content, there are many other types of information you might want to include on your syllabus to help provide a framework for your class and also to share with students resources that are available to them.

Statement About Expectations for Students

To complement the PWR Commitment to Students, many instructors include Expectations for Students in PWR Courses, whether verbatim or in an adapted form.

Statement about Hume Center for Writing and Research

You are strongly encouraged to include a paragraph about the Hume Center for Writing and Speaking in your syllabus.  Hume has provided the following language for you to cut and paste into your syllabus (updated for Fall 2020):

The Hume Center for Writing and Speaking supports the written and oral communication of all Stanford students. In free one-to-one sessions, trained tutors help students get started on assignments; understand academic conventions in their fields; address and overcome writer’s block and speech anxiety; learn strategies for revising, editing, and proofreading; and refine their written and oral delivery. Students may bring work in any genre, including assignments for writing projects or presentations in the major, PWR, Intro Sem or Thinking Matters courses, multimedia projects such as websites or PowerPoints, Honors theses, creative projects, or fellowship or job applications. In fall 2020, all tutoring will be held virtually. To see the Center’s hours, to schedule a virtual appointment, or to access virtual drop-in tutoring, please visit the Hume Center website at

Statement About Technology Support for Remote Learning (2020-2021)

The University is prepared to help all students with their technology needs.  The Lathrop Learning Hub can provide short-term loans of laptops and other equipment in addition to assisting with away-from-campus internet access. Whether you are on campus or off, you can always go to the Lathrop Learning Hub website to see what technical and equipment assistance is available to you. In particular, use the “Prepare to Learn Online” link to help you set up your computer, internet, and Zoom for online learning.  

Statement About Accessible Education

Ensuring that students with disabilities have full access in all instructional settings is one of the University's highest priorities.  Toward that end, we urge you to include a statement about Accessible Education in your syllabus. 

The Office of Accessible Education provides this language that you can use:  

Students who may need an academic accommodation based on the impact of a disability must initiate the request with the Office of Accessible Education (OAE). Professional staff will evaluate the request with required documentation, recommend reasonable accommodations, and prepare an Accommodation Letter for faculty. Unless the student has a temporary disability, Accommodation letters are issued for the entire academic year. Students should contact the OAE as soon as possible since timely notice is needed to coordinate accommodations. The OAE is located at 563 Salvatierra Walk (phone: 723-1066, URL:

However, several of our instructors have drafted modified versions.  Below is Meg Formato's excellent statement about accessibility from her syllabus:

Statement of Accessibility 

I am completely committed to making our class a place where everyone can learn. Any student who may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability, mental health concern, or other personal circumstance should feel reach out to me, and we can discuss how best to meet your needs and facilitate your best work and learning in this course. If possible, please communicate with me about your accommodation needs during the first week of the quarter. Of course, if concerns arise later, let me know as well.

Students who may need an academic accommodation based on the impact of a disability can also initiate a request with the Office of Accessible Education (OAE).  Professional staff at OAE can evaluate your request, recommend reasonable accommodations, and prepare an Accommodation Letter for faculty. Students are encouraged to contact the OAE as soon as possible since timely notice is needed to coordinate accommodations.  The OAE is located at 563 Salvatierra Walk (phone: 723-1066, URL:

Meg also notes that it's not just the language of the statement that matters: it's how you present it, both in your syllabus and on the first day of class.  She places her accessibility statement early in her syllabus, right after the course description.  In addition, she reads it aloud on the first day of class and then talks about her policies, including how

  • she likes to have a conversation with students who might need accommodation so she can work together with them on what accommodations might be helpful
  • that it's helpful for her to hear from them early if possible so that she can plan accordingly and make the class a better learning environment for them as soon as possible
  • that their disability or learning need doesn't need to be documented for her to be open to discussing reasonable accommodation
  • that learning for all students improves when she is able to make the class more accessible, and that they should definitely discuss with her any barriers they encounter in their learning in her class or her teaching.

​You might want to note in your syllabus that the OAE is an appropriate resource both for students who already have a documented disability and students who might experience an unexpected health event that might require accommodation (such as the lingering, possibly long-term side effects of a concussion).

For further reading on Accessibility statements, see:

Statement on Sensitive Content

While Stanford has no official language around "trigger warnings," and PWR as a program does not have an official stance on this issue, we recognize that at times some of the material that we examine or assign in our PWR classes might need additional framing.  The following language was developed by Ann Watters and can provide a model or starting point for your own framing paragraph, if you want to include one in your syllabus:

Note: Some texts touch upon deeply personal issues, including cultural practices, gender, and antisocial/violent acts. I will do my best to provide timely anticipatory warnings, but the nature of our course is that discussions and contemporary readings/video at times take unexpected turns.  Let us share responsibility:  please indicate to me privately and confidentially if you feel vulnerable around certain topics.  Also, please note that campus resources are available to assist you.  Let us all develop a safe space that allows for respectful free expression and exchange of ideas.

See also this additional example from the WPA List Serv (PWR Only; Canvas Login Required)

Statement About Safe and Brave Spaces

If you are interested in drafting a statement about safe and brave spaces, you might look at how Lisa Swan addresses this issue in her "Talking About Race and Class" and her "Discussion Norms" sections on p. 6 of her PWR 1 syllabus

In addition, you might find this example, originally published on the WPA list server, as a starting point for your own.  (PWR only; Canvas log-in required)

The statement's author drew much of her material from Brian Arao and Kristi Clemens' article, "From Safe Spaces to Brave Spaces: A New Way to Frame Dialogue around Diversity and Social Justice."

Additional Optional Syllabus Content

You might also want to include an inclusivity statement or a statement about respectful classroom conduct or discussion.  See these examples for some ideas. (PWR only; Canvas log-in required)