Paper-saving measure to put all syllabi online

Beginning this fall, the traditional dissemination of course syllabi on the first day of class may be a thing of the past.

On March 11, the College Senate passed a first reading of a resolution that will no longer require faculty to distribute paper copies of a syllabus, provided it is made available online.

Ed Wallace, chair of the Senate Policy Committee that recommended the resolution, explained that the change will "reduce the environmental impact" of printing syllabi, the latest step in a college-wide effort to promote sustainability.

Wallace stressed that the resolution comes with the understanding that faculty will still provide paper copies to any student who requests one, alleviating concerns that students would be forced to use their printer accounts.

"Any student who can live without it can just check it online," Wallace said.

Students and faculty expressed mixed opinions about the change.

"I normally would be in favor of saving paper," said English professor Alice Rutkowski. "But I worry that some students might never print [the syllabi] out at all."

Rutkowski said that a syllabus is essentially a contract between a professor and a student and favored making it available online as well as distributing paper copies in class.

Political science professor Jeremy Grace is in favor of the measure.

"I think it's a great idea. I try to minimize my use of paper as much as possible," he said. However, he questioned whether making syllabi available online would substantially save paper, guessing many students would prefer paper copies.

Sophomore Sharon Fox agreed.

"I feel like I would print it out anyway," she said.

"It's a good idea, but I like being able to see [the paper copy]," said freshman Christine O'Connell.

The resolution, if passed, will alter an earlier resolution requiring faculty to distribute paper copies of syllabi. Now, each professor will be able to choose whether to distribute copies of a syllabus in class or make it available electronically.