Course Policies

Participation and Attendance

Class meetings will be conducted as discussions.  Your contributions to class discussion are important not only to your own learning but also for how others learn from you.  For these reasons, preparation and participation are worth a significant part of your grade (35%).  And you should understand that by “participation” I do not mean simply showing up to class, the occasional comment made in class, or talk for the sake of talking.  Rather, I will view your participation as an indication of your level of engagement with the course.  Here are 2 ways you should be able to demonstrate that engagement:

  • informed participation in class on a regular basis:  i.e., your comments in class reflect thoughtful preparation of the assigned reading and or writing and demonstrate that you are paying attention to the conversation; you speak up often enough to be a presence in the class; your contributions to discussion make it possible for others to participation and to learn.
  • evidence of sustained critical thinking about issues, questions or concepts discussed in class regularly demonstrated in your writing.

Of course it goes without saying that when you don’t come to class, you can’t be part of the discussion, you won’t understand the relevance of the reading and writing assignments, and you will fall behind.  Thus, uneven attendance will affect every other aspect of this course on which you are evaluated.  Because I often begin class by asking for responses in writing to a particular question or passage from the assigned reading, you will have the same difficulties if you arrive late.

Although missing class because of religious holidays is not an absence, you still need to notify me ahead of time so that you will not fall behind.

More than two unexcused absences will negatively affect your grade.  Three absences of any kind will result in an automatic C for participation.  5 absences of any kind will result in an F for the course.  (For more information about how I will evaluate your participation, see the “Evaluation of Learning” page on this site.)

Late or Missed Assignments

You will be doing a lot of writing this semester, and it’s important that you not fall behind.  Many of the writing assignments are preparing you for the work of a particular day’s class, so missing an assignment will mean you’re not prepared for class.  Consequently, I will not normally accept late work.  If you anticipate a problem meeting a deadline, tell me about it sooner not later, and if possible, we will work something out.

Collaboration and Intellectual Honesty

Writing and reading are social and socializing activities, and more often than not in this course, you will be responding to and building on the ideas of others.  I encourage you to discuss the reading and writing assignments with anyone in or outside the class.  In addition, I will frequently ask you to read and respond to one another’s work.  Should you find yourself drawing on any of these discussions in your written work, you should include an acknowledgement statement.  E.g., I would like to thank my classmate Pheobe Jones for her feedback on an earlier draft of this essay.  Or, My idea for this blog post originated in a discussion I had yesterday with my roommate Mike Miller.

If you have any questions about how to use or cite sources (we’ll be following  MLA rules), consult your St. Martin’s Handbook or the Purdue OWL or ask me.

Instances of plagiarism, representing without attribution the ideas of others, will be dealt with according to the procedure outlined in the most recent version of your student handbook.  You are responsible for reading and adhering to the College’s “Principles of  Intellectual Honesty” explained there.

Requests for Academic Accommodation

In compliance with Lafayette College policy and equal access laws, I am available to discuss appropriate academic accommodations that you require as a student with a disability.  Except in unusual circumstances, requests for academic accommodations need to be made during the first two weeks of the semester so that arrangements can be made.  Students must register with the Office of the Dean of the College for verification and for determination of reasonable academic accommodations.

Federal Course Requirement

The student work in this course is in full compliance with the federal definition of a four credit hour course. This means that I will require you to attend several events outside the class hours.  Please see the Lafayette College Compliance webpage on the Registrar’s site for the full policy and practice statement.

And finally…

Because we will frequently have dog visitors with us, I need to ask that you not eat in class.  Beverages are okay.  If you have food in your book bag, please be sure that it’s secure!