Course Policies

Participation and Attendance: Active engagement with the course is required in this course. This means keeping up with reading, reading to understand and not simply to get through the pages, and putting your best efforts into assignments and class discussions and activities, coming to class regularly and on time, and listening attentively to comments made in class. Unexcused absences will adversely affect your final grade (an absence is excused when due to serious illness, religious observance, participation in university activities at the request of university authorities, or compelling circumstances beyond your control). To claim an excused absence, you must provide a signed letter by a person in a position to make an authoritative determination as to the validity of the cause of the absence within three calendar days of your return from that absence. In cases where you know you will be missing class, please let me know as soon as possible. You are responsible for all announcements, assignments, materials and date changes covered or made in class while you are absent.

Class Discussion: Vigorous discussion and debate are encouraged in this course, with the firm expectation that all aspects of the class will be conducted with civility and respect for differing ideas, perspectives, and traditions. You are adults and I expect that you approach our class with seriousness, critical thinking, and respect for your peers, your instructor, and the material. When in doubt (of any kind) please ask for guidance and clarification.

Electronic Devices: If you need to use a laptop in class due to accommodations provided by Disability Services or for other specific needs, you will need to make these arrangements separately with me.

Cell phone use is not allowed. Before each class, please remember to silence or turn off (not vibrate!) any electronic devices. No calls and no texting during class. If you must use your cell phone during class time for a personal emergency, please leave the room without disturbing the class. In the event that this opportunity is abused, you will be asked to leave the classroom immediately.

Email Policy: In compliance with a University-wide initiative, our correspondence will be only through GMU assigned email accounts. Please check your email account regularly for updates and important announcements.

Academic honesty: George Mason University has an Honor Code with clear guidelines regarding academic integrity: 1) all work submitted must be your own; 2) when using the work or ideas of others, including fellow students, give full credit through accurate citations. While collaboration and learning from others is not only encouraged but also required, using someone else’s words or ideas without giving them credit is plagiarism. If you quote directly from any text, you MUST use the exact words (including punctuation) just as the words, phrases, and sentences appear in the original text. You must also follow proper citation rules to indicate that you are quoting directly from a text. If you paraphrase ideas, that is, convey the author’s ideas in your own words, you must still cite the source, using an established citation format. When in doubt include a citation. If you are unclear about what you should document, consult with me. The official GMU policies are available from the Office of Academic Integrity: A great online resource for resources on writing and citation is the Purdue Online Writing Lab:

Diversity Statement: George Mason University promotes a living and learning environment for outstanding growth and productivity among its students, faculty and staff. Mason strives to maintain a quality environment for work, study and personal growth. An emphasis upon diversity and inclusion throughout the campus community is essential to achieve these goals. Diversity includes, but is not limited to, race, ethnicity, gender, religion, age, disability, and sexual orientation. Diversity also entails different viewpoints, philosophies, and perspectives. Attention to these aspects of diversity will help promote a culture of inclusion and belonging, and an environment where diverse opinions, backgrounds and practices have the opportunity to be voiced, heard and respected.

Communication: Please bring any questions and concerns you may have to me in a timely manner. Do not hesitate to ask for guidance and clarification, whatever the issue is. I am available during my office hours and by appointment to discuss and advise you. I will assume that the class is comfortable and satisfactory and the material I present is clear unless I hear from you otherwise. If you are struggling with readings, assignments, and/or meeting deadlines, it is very important that you come to me for assistance before you fall too far behind.