What's a Syllabus For?

Wednesday, October 28, 2020, 1 - 2pm

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Bill Germano and Kit Nicholls will lead faculty in a discussion of how we set goals for our students and ourselves when we craft a syllabus.

Please come prepared to exchange ideas and questions about how we use syllabi in our seminars, studios, labs, or lectures.

For the Zoom link write to Pamela Newton.

Bill and Kit's book, Syllabus, The Remarkable, Unremarkable Document That Changes Everything is our this month from Princeton University Press. In Syllabus, William Germano and Kit Nicholls take a fresh look at this essential but almost invisible bureaucratic document and use it as a starting point for rethinking what students—and teachers—do. What if a teacher built a semester’s worth of teaching and learning backward—starting from what students need to learn to do by the end of the term, and only then selecting and arranging the material students need to study?


  • Founded by inventor, industrialist and philanthropist Peter Cooper in 1859, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art offers education in art, architecture and engineering, as well as courses in the humanities and social sciences.

  • “My feelings, my desires, my hopes, embrace humanity throughout the world,” Peter Cooper proclaimed in a speech in 1853. He looked forward to a time when, “knowledge shall cover the earth as waters cover the great deep.”

  • From its beginnings, Cooper Union was a unique institution, dedicated to founder Peter Cooper's proposition that education is the key not only to personal prosperity but to civic virtue and harmony.

  • Peter Cooper wanted his graduates to acquire the technical mastery and entrepreneurial skills, enrich their intellects and spark their creativity, and develop a sense of social justice that would translate into action.