Honors American Studies: Course Policies

(1) Absences and Late Work. 

You are responsible for completing all assigned work for this course. If you are absent, consult the course’s online calendar and/or get in touch with a friend to see what you must make-up. Make-ups for exams, essays, and seminars given in class are only granted for excused absences. Please note that if you fail to show up for the make-up exam, you will not be able to re-schedule and you will not receive credit.


When turning in late or absent work you must fill out a Late Work Form (found in my classroom by the black-wire bin) and attach it on top of your late or absent work. Late work can only be submitted within one week after the due date. This does not mean you will be excused for the tardiness of your work; the grade for all late work is dropped by one full letter (10%) from what it would have earned. Note that work submitted without this form will not receive credit.


(2) Cheating and Plagiarism. 

Learning is a shared activity, and during class discussions I encourage you to record each other’s ideas and use them in your writing. That said, I do not tolerate academic dishonesty. Any student caught cheating or found guilty of plagiarism will receive a fail for the assignment with no possibility for make-up, as well as a drop in their final grade. Bottom line: don’t do it.


(3) Work Habits and Cooperation.

Work habits grades are based on consistently coming to class prepared and on time, as well as consistently turning in assignments and essays by the due date. Cooperation grades are based on your conduct in class. Violations of the policies and procedures outlined in this syllabus, as will any display of extremely rude or disrespectful behavior, will result in lowered work habits and corporation grades. Please note: I will not write letters of recommendation for any senior who has earned a U in cooperation in my classes.


(4) Grades.

For this class, assignments are weighted (approximately) according to the following categories:

  • Essays = 35%

  • Quizzes/Exams = 25%

  • Socratic Seminars = 20%

  • Digital Humanities Projects = 15%

  • Participation (includes active reading and notes) = 5%


Grades for individual assignments are weighted such that assignments given later in the semester count more than assignments given at the beginning. This is because I do not expect you to master the skills and content at the beginning of the year, or even at the beginning of a new unit. However, I do expect that you continuously push yourself. Slacking off will only lower your grade.


Minor assignments are graded using a check system that adheres to the following scale:


√+ = 95%          √+/√ = 90%          √ = 85%          √/√- = 75%          √- = 65%


Major assignments (e.g., essays, projects, and exams) are given letter grades that adhere to the following scale:


A+ = 97%          B+ = 87%          C+ = 77%          D+ = 67%

A  = 95%           B  = 85%            C  = 75%           D  = 65%

A- = 93%          B- = 83%           C- = 73%          D- = 63%


Fail = 55%          Missing = 50%


Final semester grades adhere to the following scale (note that grades are never rounded):          


A = 90-100%          B = 80-89%          C = 70-79%          D = 60-69%          F = below 60%


(5) Communication.

Please note that while I always respond to emails, I rarely check them after 7pm, so please allow for up to 36 hours for a response, especially on weekends. Emails inquiring about specific grades are never answered; schedule a meeting or see me during office hours to discuss your performance on a specific assignment.