Reminders for the beginning of the term

January 10, 2018

Dear colleagues,

With classes about to begin, we write with some seasonal reminders and ask that you keep them in mind during the opening days and throughout the semester:

Publicizing all course requirements

The faculty voted in 2013 to adopt the practice of posting syllabi at least a week before the start of each term. If you haven’t done so already, please use Canvas to post at least a provisional syllabus, and include all the requirements students must satisfy, stating explicitly whether students must complete them all in order to pass the course.


The Faculty Handbook stresses that faculty members are expected to be on campus most days of the work week, except for holidays and recess time, and make themselves available to advise students and meet other normal obligations. All teaching faculty must remain on campus during reading and examination periods.

Registering sections

Faculty with discussion or laboratory sections should state the times and places for their sections, which are then submitted to the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Registrar’s Office by a departmental administrator using the Teaching Fellow System Section Management tool.

Scheduling sections

Please balance discussion sections sensibly across the whole week and day, and schedule sections in mid-morning, early in the afternoon, and when fewer classes meet, such as Friday mornings. Please also avoid scheduling class during Yale College faculty meetings, which take place at 4:00 p.m. the first Thursday of every month. If you have questions about classroom allocations, please write to the registrar’s office, which assigns classrooms for discussion sections unless your department indicates otherwise.

Managing the course selection period

Please help students by deciding early in the course selection period period whom to admit. Instructors in the past have used different criteria for admitting students, limiting enrollment, for example, to those in a certain class, level of study, or major. By announcing criteria for admittance and finalizing class lists early, you can make the course selection period period a better experience for your students. 

Managing technology in the classroom

Please create guidelines for using technology in your classroom, and announce them at the beginning of the semester, both in your syllabus and orally.

Yours truly,

Marvin Chun, Lynn Cooley, Tamar Gendler
Dean of Yale College, Dean of the Graduate School, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences

Useful resources

Handbook for Instructors of Undergraduates in Yale College

Faculty Handbook

Teaching How-to

Center for Teaching and Learning

Teaching Fellow Program

Teaching Fellowships as Financial Aid