Inquiry: The Journal of the Virginia Community Colleges

Author Bio(s)

Yuemin He, PhD, is a return author of Inquiry. She teaches English at Northern Virginia Community College at the Annandale campus. She is a recipient of multiple national and campus awards. Her essays, translations, book reviews, and short stories were published in The Emergence of Buddhist American Literature, Oxford Anthology of Modern and Contemporary American Poetry (2nd ed.), Religion and Arts, Metamorphoses, Ezra, The Northern Virginia Review, Yuan Yang, and Cha.


Reacting directly to the fact that even the best syllabus is worthless to the student who does not read it, this essay draws inspiration from research of the past decade, especially from the learning-focused syllabus concept that was introduced by three researchers at the University of Virginia, and uses a questionnaire to gauge our community college students’ needs. It suggests specific methods to build the bridge between course content instruction and syllabus teaching. Ultimately, it contributes to the discussion of several important syllabus-related questions: How can instructors use the syllabus as a pedagogical tool to build a strong student rapport? How can instructors balance the syllabus to build a positive academic atmosphere and fulfill course requirements? What are the ways to make the syllabus exemplary for student learning? What standard practices can be established in college syllabus education? The essay aims to increase student autonomy and community and student success, which is the goal of community college education.


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