Wisdom ceases to be wisdom when it becomes too proud to weep, too grave to laugh, and too selfful to seek other than itself. (Kahlil Gibran)
>>>Some of these instructions may not apply for Honors Inquiry or Honors Seminar. Please ask me if you have questions about what's on the syllabus that differs from what you read here.<<<
Criteria for evaluation
Attendance and punctuality in class may affect your participation grade. See the Undergraduate Catalog for the college's expectations and guidelines.
Class roll will be checked at the beginning of each class.
If you will be, or have been, absent or late for whatever reason, you must inform me as soon as possible and do make-up work (when applicable).
Perfect attendance will earn an extra 10% of your participation grade. Multiple absences or tardiness may affect your participation grade.
The mission of Westminster College is to help men and women develop competencies, commitments, and characteristics which have distinguished human beings at their best. The abuse of alcohol and other drugs serves only to undermine the attainment of these goals. The faculty therefore expects all students, as they do of themselves, to take seriously the implications of such risk-taking behaviors in their pursuit of a Westminster education.
Participation and attention during class, whether it is to the instructor or to other students, will affect your final grade.
You are expected to be prepared for every class by
You may not be able to contribute during every class, but your overall willingness and effort to participate throughout the semester, in and outside class, will be noted for final evaluation. If you have any concerns about this (e.g., you're a shy person), please come talk to me about them. I will always listen.
Your participation in class discussions will be important. The discussion should include constructive criticism (of one another's points of view) in which all students are expected to take active part. Your critical responses to other students will be considered in assessing your participation in the course.
Occasional, ordinarily short assignments (e.g., summary of a reading assignment) may be used in assessing your participation.
Assignments are due before or at the beginning of class on the day they are due (unless otherwise indicated). If an assignment does not have a fixed due-date for the entire class (e.g., you get to choose the due-date), please send me an e-mail to let me know that your assignment has been submitted on time.
Assignments turned in late will be penalized an incremental grade per day (any exceptions will be at the discretion of the instructor). E.g., a written assignment graded B will be adjusted to B- if a day late or to C+ for being 2 days late. See below for an explanation of written assignment grade.
Assignments must be typed and double-spaced and conform to the following specifications:
Edit your paper carefully (spelling, grammar, syntax, flow of argument, etc.). Use the Chicago Manual of Style as a general guide for writing (for help: NoodleTools). A paper that contains too many mistakes in spelling, punctuation, formatting etc. will not receive a grade above a D. If your writing skills need to be improved, I strongly encourage you to go to the Learning Center or to a writing professor for assistance—or ask a friend who is a good writer to help you edit your paper. Cultivate the art of clear articulation. It is guaranteed to bring future benefits, no matter what you do in life.
Use Google Scholar (much better for research than Google; click on "About Google Scholar" at the bottom of the page; use "Advanced Scholar Search" [triangle in the search box]).
Click here for tips on earning higher grades.
Also click here (then click "Writing tips" or scroll to the bottom).
Click here for tips on writing good papers.
In all cases, make sure that you give due credit to ideas, observations, conclusions, etc. that are not your own by using quotation marks, footnotes, etc. (see the Chicago Manual of Style for details—for help: NoodleTools).
Document each thought, each bit of information, or each sentence. You cannot “footnote” an entire paragraph.
If plagiarism (i.e., the presentation of another person's idea as your own) is found in your written work, the assignment will receive a zero. You may fail the course if plagiarism persists. To avoid problems, always give credit where credit is due.
>>>I will be using Turnitin.com to encourage your cultivation of academic integrity and to evaluate your work. If your class is enrolled in Turnitin.com please use it to check for potential problems in your assignment that you should address before submitting it.<<<
Unless otherwise instructed, submit an electronic file of your assignment at Turnitin.com (or as an e-mail attachment if Turnitin.com is inaccessible).
Please name the file using your last name and a brief description of the assignment (e.g., "Smith paper #1").
If the due date is not the same for all students in the class, please send a brief e-mail to let me know that your assignment has been submitted on time.
Deciphering graded papers:
>>>Not all highlighted corrections, suggestions, or comments have an impact on the evaluation (grade). I will also stop highlighting or commenting on a particular item if it is repeated several times. If you have any questions about any highlighted feedback, please come see me.<<<
If your paper is shorter than specified, I will deduct from your paper grade unless the content is exceptional.
If your paper is too long, I will stop reading after the specified number of words unless the content is exceptional.
You may be given the chance to revise your paper, if you ask. Should you choose to do so, your revision will be evaluated and the final grade will be the average of the two.
The criteria for grading presentations are as follows:
See my presentation evaluation page for details and the form (you and) I will use for evaluation. Unless otherwise stated, "communication skills" will be the least significant for my evaluation.
Quizzes & Examinations
All quizzes and exams will be fair; you will be informed about what they will cover.
A pop quiz will cover the readings assigned for or before the day the quiz is given.
If there is a particular question on a quiz or exam which no one in the class answers correctly, everyone will receive full credit for it.
grading principles include the recognition of improvement, e.g.,
ordinarily weighing the performance of the second half
of the semester significantly more than that of the first half.
(How well you finish the semester is much more important than
how much you had to struggle to get there.)
If you perform significantly worse on one graded exercise (assignment, test, etc.) than on others, I will ordinarily disregard the lowest grade or score for the final evaluation of your class performance.
If you think the grade you receive on any of your work is not fair, I will be more than willing to evaluate it again and go over the work with you.
As far as I am aware, the grades earned at Westminster, as at most American colleges and universities, do not always reflect the descriptions in the Inquiry reader or the Undergraduate Catalog (e.g., B tends to represent satisfactory work rather than C). At the same time, grading according to the above standards may also carry unfair consequences for many students (e.g., financial aid disqualification, transcript misinterpretation). In the light of practical consideration and fairness, I will grade according to general Westminster practices (e.g., the average grade earned is about a B), but I will try to communicate honestly the quality of the work you do in the course. My main concern is to be fair and honest with you while reflecting the general grading practices at Westminster. If you have any questions or concerns about grades at Westminster or any grade your work receives in my classes, please come see me; I will be glad to listen and respond.
The conversion for scores and grades is as follows: