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Policies and Resources for Instructors (Information updated April 2024)

UWM Syllabus Template

The UWM  Syllabus Template (Word) contains all the required and many recommended statements, follows the Uniform Syllabus Policy, and passes Word’s Accessibility Checker.

Academic Policies

Add Deadline: This policy is detailed in SAAP 1-3. Beginning in fall 2024, adding a course after the fifth day of instruction will require permission; the previous policy allowed unrestricted adds until the tenth day of instruction.

Drop/Withdrawal/Repeat Policies: These policies are detailed in SAAP 1-8. Provide early feedback to your students AND encourage students to talk to you (the instructor) before dropping a course.

FERPA: The FERPA for Faculty and Staff webpage explains these federal requirements. Complete the on-line FERPA training quiz. Only provide student grades on Canvas. Do not post, email, or share grades with others.

Final Exam Schedule: SAAP 1-9 outlines the scheduling, change in scheduling, and exemption for final examinations. The Registrar’s Office posts the Final Exam Schedule, which lists the pre-determined time of each final exam.

Grading and Grade Records: Faculty Document 1927 outlines the policies on grading and grade records. The Incomplete Policy can be found in SAAP 1-13 – use it sparingly. Information on grading functionality within PAWS

Online Contingency Options in the Event of Cancellation of In-Person Classes: Faculty Document 3490 prescribes the options that are available to instructors in the event that in-person classes are cancelled.

Prohibition of Class Recess Due Dates: Faculty Document 3492 prohibits instructors from setting course due dates that occur during class recesses or on legal holidays.

Religious Observance: Follow UWM Faculty Document 1918 on religious accommodation as required (see the religious holiday calendars).

Student Military Service: UWM and Universities of Wisconsin have enacted a number of policies and procedures designed to accommodate students who must temporarily interrupt their studies when called to active-duty military service.

Academic Affairs Resources: See the main page for faculty/staff resources and/or the policy page.

Faculty Resources and Support

Academic Misconduct: Review UWM’s student academic misconduct procedures. Contact the Dean of Students Office ( or 414-229-4632) with related concerns or questions.

Campus Cares: The Campus Cares website includes support and resources for faculty and staff, and information on the UWM culture of care.

Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning: CETL provides pedagogy and instructional technology support services and resources for instructors. Model life-long learning to your students by taking advantage of CETL to improve your teaching.

Dean of Students: The Dean of Students offers consulting, training, and assistance to faculty and staff on student-related issues, including Support U workshops. To consult with the Dean of Students Office, use the incident reporting form or or 414-229-4632.

UWM Police Department: For emergencies or immediate assistance, call 414-229-9911 or 9-911 from a campus phone. Download the Rave Guardian Mobile App to your smartphone to connect directly with UWMPD through texting, confidential tips, location sharing, emergency button, and other campus safety resources.

Student Success Policies and Resources

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities and Universal Design: In the pursuit of equal access, and in compliance with federal and state laws, UWM and instructors are required to provide accommodations to students with documented disabilities. The Accessibility Resource Center (ARC) offers faculty and staff support and education for working with students who have disabilities by sharing important resources and links on their Faculty/Staff webpage, including specifics on how and where to submit requests for media captioning.

Note: If a student requests an accommodation and their Accommodation Plan isn’t in your PROFconnect portal, please ask the student to reach out to ARC.

Coping with Stress and Mental Health Challenges: Most college students who dropped out during the past year cited mental health as their main challenge. Instructors are often a primary point of contact for students. Please be observant about students’ stress levels or personal crises, and compassionately refer students to resources.

Course Materials: Increase accessibility of course materials. Providing multiple ways to access class materials and reduce textbook costs lead to improved student success.

Course Reserve: Please consider putting a copy of your textbook and other course materials on Course Reserve. See the UWM Libraries Equipment and Reserve Services for more information.

Dean of Students: The Dean of Students Office helps connect students to resources, including emergency grants, food pantry, mental health, and other resources. The Support U website lists support resources available to students.

Progress Reports: Use early notifications to help struggling students. Notifying both these students and their advisors can help prevent drops! Watch for the Progress Reports campaign email notification during weeks 4-9 of the semester. Use Navigate.

Selecting Textbooks: Compare/contrast options for using Open Textbooks, Open Educational Resources (OER), and Library digital content at this Guide to Course Materials selection from the Division of Academic Affairs

Sexual Harassment/Sexual Violence:

Best Practices for Preparing Canvas Sites

Consistency across all courses can have a significant, positive effect on student success. When used effectively, Canvas provides a quick and easy pathway for students to find all relevant course materials, such as readings, assignments, and instructor feedback. To this end, instructors teaching face-to-face, online, and blended/hybrid courses should incorporate the following strategies into their course sites. It is particularly important for instructors to consider how regular and substantive interaction is integrated in their online course(s) and to provide multiple ways for students to contact them.

Assign Due Dates in Canvas: All assignments with specific deadlines should be listed in Canvas so that students can easily track upcoming assignments in the course. As much as possible, deadlines should be consistent from week to week.

Interact with Every Student at Least Weekly: Regular and substantive interaction between students and instructors is a hallmark of good teaching and a federal requirement for all courses, including fully online courses. While welcoming students and building classroom community are important, interactions must contribute to students’ progress toward course learning objectives. More details and suggestions.

Organize Materials Chronologically: This allows students to quickly navigate to a given week or module to find what they need at that moment in the course.

Provide Multiple Ways for Students to Contact You: For example, post video office hours or a phone number, in addition to email and the Canvas inbox.

Publish the Course Site Prior to the Course Start Date: This allows students to orient themselves to the course materials and sites. One week prior is recommended.

Use CETL’s Canvas Course Template: This template will help you set up your courses efficiently and effectively and promote a consistent student experience among courses in Canvas.

Use the Gradebook: Provide timely and accurate grades to students using the gradebook in the LMS so students can determine where they stand at any point.

Use Student-Friendly Naming Conventions: Use this strategy for all documents, assignments, and other course components to help students easily identify the materials and resources they need to be successful. For example:

  • Change “HONORS-250-Smith-Spring-22-Syllabus.docx” to “Course Syllabus” or “Syllabus”
  • Instead of “Week 8 Video” provide the title of the video
  • Include a description, such as “Creating a Game in Tabletopia” rather than listing the full URL
Emergency Preparedness

In an emergency, the health and safety of UWM students, employees, and visitors depends on being prepared and knowing what to do.

Campus Safety Page: This page provides up-to-date information on campus health and safety issues and how to register for emergency alerts.

Emergency Preparedness: University Safety and Assurances provides detailed information on preparing for an emergency, a one-page Emergency Preparedness guide, and training in safety and emergency preparedness.

Quick Tips: The UWM Report provided students and employees with some quick tips for emergencies.