It's in the Syllabus

POSTED ON: October 28, 2020


Syllabus: The Remarkable, Unremarkable Document That Changes Everything (Princeton University Press), by William Germano and Kit Nicholls, was published this month and has been getting rave reviews. Germano is a professor and former dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Science. Nicholls is the director of the Center for Writing.

Syllabus book jacket

Part of the publisher's Skills for Scholars series, the book's primary audience is working academics, although that has not limited coverage to solely higher education press.

"Germano and Nicholls’s gently polemical, deeply romantic book regards the syllabus, and the work that goes into constructing one, as an opportunity to ponder the possibilities and pathways of the classroom," writes Hua Hsu for The New Yorker.

Kirkus gave it a starred review, calling the book, "A thoughtful, provocative collection of well-tested teaching strategies and philosophies that work across the curriculum."

On October 28 the co-authors led a symposium on the subject for fellow Cooper Union faculty.

  • 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.