Syllabus Checklist for Life Science Courses

This checklist will help instructors of WSU General Education courses with Life Science (LS) and LS/EDI attributes to design a course syllabus that includes critical information about the General Education program.


Key Course Information

 Name of Course, with Gen Ed attributes specified (i.e., LS, LS & EDI)
 Name of faculty member, meeting place and meeting time if F2F
 Contact info: office location, student hours, phone, email, faculty website link
 List of required texts   
 Provide the catalog course description
 Clearly outline the scope and focus of the class with course objectives
 Check with your department/program chair and the Center for Excellence in Teaching & Learning for additional information and policies to be included in your syllabus, including:

 Attendance policies
 Plagiarism, academic honesty, and AI policies
 ADA policies & statement
 Core beliefs statement
 Professionalism and Respect statement
 Inclusivity statement
 FERPA Rights
 Student Responsibilities
 Recording policies

Big Question and Signature Assignment:

 State the “Big Question” (BQ) of your Gen Ed course.
 Describe the Signature Assignment (SA) for your Gen Ed course. Examples can be found in the eWeber portal app titled, Signature Assignment samples.
Include and modify this language to inform students of the BQ and SA in your Gen Ed course.

This course is part of the WSU General Education program. GE courses introduce students to academic disciplines through important “big questions” (BQ). At their core, “big questions” provide students the opportunity to integrate and apply their knowledge of the discipline to address a significant, personal, social, or professional issue. GE courses also introduce students to underlying foundational knowledge and intellectual tools that run through all academic areas and are part of the ongoing preparation to address real world problems.

All WSU General Education courses have “signature assignments” (SA) that require you to integrate and apply course content to address a big question with, for instance, critical or creative thinking, problem solving, or analysis. Signature assignments 1) will address a specific audience, 2) will tackle personal, social, or a professional question or issue, and 3) will integrate and apply course content through the use of 4) intellectual tools. You are enrolled in the WSU General Education course _______________ which is designed to tackle the following big question (BQ)____________________________ through the signature assignment (SA)____________________________. Please see ______ for more detailed information about the signature assignment for this course.

 Name your SA in the Canvas Gradebook as “Signature Assignment”

The words “Signature Assignment” must be in the assignment title - not merely in the description of the SA, or on the syllabus. The actual assignment title should be something like “Signature Assignment,” “Final Paper (Signature Assignment)” or “Signature Assignment: Final Paper”. The General Education program cannot assess courses unless the Signature Assignment is labelled as such in the Canvas assignment title.

Life Science (LS) Area Learning Outcomes (LOs)

 List the Natural Science Learning Outcomes (LOs)

1) Nature of science: Scientific knowledge is based on evidence that is repeatedly examined, and can change with new information. Scientific explanations differ fundamentally from those that are not scientific.

2) Integration of science: All natural phenomena are interrelated and share basic prganziational principles. Scientific explanations obtained from different disciplines should be cohesive and integrated.

3) Science and society: The study of science provides explanations that have significant impact on society, including technological advancements, improvements of human life, and better understanding of human and other influences on the earth's environment.

4) Problem solving and data analysis: Science relies on empirical data, and such data must be analyzed, interpreted, and generalized in a rigorous manner.

 List the four Life Science Learning Outcomes (LOs):
Students will demonstrate their understanding of the following four characteristics of life:

1) Levels of organization: All life shares an organization that is based on molecules and cells and extends to organisms and ecosystems.

2) Metabolism and homeostasis: Living things obtain and use energy, and maintain homeostasis via organized chemical reactions known as metabolism.

3) Genetics and evolution: Shared genetic processes and evolution by natural selection are universal features of all life.

4) Ecological interactions: All organisms, including humans, interact with their environment and other living organisms.

 Write the relevant Life Science (LS) LO(s) next to the aligned course assignment(s).

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Area Learning Outcomes (LOs)

 Include the statement: "General Education at Weber State University supports the development of cultural competencies through designated Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) courses, which prepare students to recognize a plurality of perspectives, including their own, to function successfully in a global society". 

 List the three EDI Learning Outcomes (LOs):
A student who successfully completes an EDI General Education course will:

1)  Evaluate their own perspective as one among many

2) Analyze the ways in which biases or values influence and/or have influenced the structures, policies, practices, norms, or perspectives often assumed to be neutral.

3) Apply diverse perspectives to complex subjects in the face of multiple or conflicting positions, in accordance with their sense of personal and civic responsiblility.

 Write the relevant EDI LO(s) next to the aligned course assignment(s).