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Syllabus boilerplate: Guidelines for email correspondence

mailNote: since I began including this in syllabi (and pointing it out at the beginning of each semester), emails from students have become… slightly… better. The good ones remember this when emailing me. The others can be ignored and referred back to the syllabus. Any other good solutions out there for elevating the tone of student/teacher e-correspondence?


Subject line: Please write a descriptive and specific subject heading for all your emails, include course and section number (e.g. “MTC 591 Question about Assignment 3”).

Greeting: Please compose a clear and appropriate greeting; I will not answer emails addressed to “hey.” You should address your professor as Dr. Silverman.

Tone & Style: Use a tone and language that is appropriate to an academic setting; emails written in short-hand or without proper punctuation and grammar (e.g., hey, whats r homwrk?) will not receive a response.

Signature: Always sign your full name, student ID number, and your course and section number. (e.g., Susie Student, ss1234567,  MTC 591).

Turn-around Time & Content:

For issues that can be addressed succinctly in emails, you will typically receive a reply within two days. If you have a time-sensitive issue or an emergency, indicate that in the subject line.

If you have more complicated needs or concerns—for example, if you’ve fallen behind in class, want to discuss a paper or a grade, or have other problems—you must make an appointment to see me face to face (see page 1 for office hours).

Your professor will not respond to individuals with general questions about missed class work or homework (e.g. “what did I miss?”). It is your own responsibility to keep up with course work. Specific questions or needed clarifications about some particular aspect of an assignment or homework will of course be answered in a timely manner.