February 12, 2021

Dear colleagues,

With classes now begun, 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

  • For courses with limited enrollments that do not require pre-registration, please follow these guidelines:
  • Include in your syllabi detailed and clear criteria for admitting students. You can find useful guidelines here. 
  • Post syllabi on Canvas before the course selection period. 
  • Within 48 hours or by the next class meeting – whichever is shorter – please post class lists of admitted students, and wait lists, on Canvas or by email.

(Information about courses that do require pre-registration can be found here.)

In the following cases, these guidelines do not apply:

  • Limited-enrollment courses that manage and complete pre-registration and enrollment earlier than the course selection period. 
  • Limited-enrollment courses that meet Fridays only; they do not meet until the Friday after the course selection period ends because of the modified schedule at the start of the term. 
  • Wait lists, which can be managed in the usual way, although instructors and students are asked to manage and respond to them promptly. 

Addressing requests from auditors:

Only people in the following three categories may audit courses in Yale College:

  • Current Yale University employees or the spouses of current Yale University employees, faculty members, emeritus faculty members, graduate students, undergraduate students, postdoctoral fellows, or postdoctoral associates; 
  • Current members of the Yale faculty, emeritus faculty members, or students enrolled full-time in Yale College or in one of the graduate or professional schools of the University; 
  • Yale University alumni or their spouses 

No paperwork from you is required for undergraduate or graduate students, or for current faculty members to whom you give permission to audit your course or courses. For all other categories, however, an auditing form, signed by the auditor, you (the instructor), and the director of the Yale College auditing programs is required. The form is available on the websites for the Yale Affiliate Auditing Program and the Yale Alumni Auditing Program, where you can also find more information about auditing. For any questions, please contact Joel Silverman, Director of Academic and Educational Affairs, at j.silverman@yale.edu or 2-3193.

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