CTLT

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Syllabus Statements: Students with Dependents

Syllabus statements are an important way for faculty to accomplish a number of useful goals at the outset of each course: Reduce the number of predictable questions from students, help establish students' expectations about the course at the outset, reduce students’ uncertainty (and increase their comfort level) about you and the course, generate more positive perceptions about who you are and how you will conduct the class, and convey your commitment to supporting them as individuals. These pages offer information about several categories of recommended syllabus statements, each offering examples and downloads of language that can be copied or revised for individual faculty use in course syllabi.

Students with Dependents

The syllabus statements below have been provided by Students with Dependents. The Students with Dependents program, housed within the Office of the Dean of Students, supports parenting, pregnant, and caregiving students on campus. 

Cal Poly’s goal is to ensure that all student parents have the support and resources they need to overcome challenges and succeed in a safe, welcoming and inclusive environment. We encourage you to use to include one of the syllabus statements below to connect Students with Dependents with resources and to signal your support for their success. 

Syllabus Statements Language Models


One in five college students are parents. Student Parents earn higher GPAs than their non-parenting peers. Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo has a Students with Dependents program. These facts are presented to support the experience of parenting, pregnant, and caregiving students on campus.

If you are a Student with Dependents, or know of anyone who is, please connect with the Students with Dependents program via email at studentswithdependents@calpoly.edu and or on the Students with Dependents website.

In accordance with the Associated Students Inc. (ASI) Resolution #20-04 Students with Dependents are excused when they miss class because their child(ren) are sick. See Associated Students Inc. (ASI) Resolution #20-04 for details. If this policy applies to you, please be sure to contact me regarding the material covered that day and any make-up quizzes, exams or assignments.

Lastly, Title IX makes it illegal to discriminate based on sex, which includes discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, miscarriage, abortion, or related conditions, including recovery.

Students who are nursing are also protected. Please contact the Civil Rights & Compliance Office at 805-756-6770 or crco@calpoly.edu to ask questions or learn more about the CSU Nondiscrimination Policy and how it protects pregnant and nursing parents.


It is my belief that if we want to holistically support Students with Dependents in academia, that we should also expect children to be present in some form. Aside from the Associated Students Inc., class attendance policy (res. #20-04), the policies described here reflect my own beliefs and commitments to student, staff and faculty parents, and not necessarily those of the university. Additionally, for further resources, support and community, please connect with the Students with Dependents program via email at studentswithdependents@calpoly.edu or on the Students with Dependents website.   

  1. All exclusively breastfeeding babies are welcome in class as often as is necessary to support the breastfeeding relationship. Because not all people can pump sufficient milk, and not all babies will take a bottle reliably, I never want students to feel like they have to choose between feeding their baby and continuing their education. You and your nursing baby are welcome in class anytime.
  2. For older children and babies, I understand that minor illnesses and unforeseen disruptions in childcare often put parents in the position of having to choose between missing class to stay home with a child and leaving him or her with someone you or the child does not feel comfortable with. While this is not meant to be a long-term childcare solution, occasionally bringing a child to class in order to cover gaps in care is perfectly acceptable. Additionally, please exercise your right to use the Cal Poly Associated Students Inc. (ASI) Resolution #20-04. This class attendance policy gives Students with Dependents an excused absence when they miss class because their child(ren) are sick. If this policy applies to you, please be sure to contact me regarding the material covered that day and any make -up quizzes, exams or assignments.
  3. I ask that all students work with me to create a welcoming environment that is respectful of all forms of diversity, including diversity in parenting status.
  4. In all cases where babies and children come to class, I ask that you sit close to the door so that if your little one needs special attention and is disrupting learning for other students, you may step outside until their need has been met. Non-parents in the class, please reserve seats near the door for your parenting classmates.
  5. I understand that often the largest barrier to completing your coursework once you become a parent is the tiredness many parents feel in the evening once their children have finally gone to sleep. The struggles of balancing school, childcare and often another job are exhausting. I hope that you will feel comfortable disclosing your student-parent status to me. This is the first step in my being able to accommodate any special needs that arise. While I maintain the same high expectations for all students in my classes regardless of parenting status, I am happy to problem solve with you in a way that makes you feel supported as you strive for school-parenting balance. Thank you for the diversity you bring to our classroom.
  6. Lastly, Title IX makes it illegal to discriminate based on sex, which includes discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, false pregnancy, miscarriage, abortion, or related conditions, including recovery. Students who are nursing are also protected. Please contact the Civil Rights & Compliance Office at 805-756-6770 or crco@calpoly.edu to ask questions or learn more about the CSU Nondiscrimination Policy and how it protects pregnant and nursing parents.

*Adapted from Dr. Melissa Cheyney, Oregon State


 

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