Course Policies

“You just have to get together with people and try to do something different,” he said.

“You know, I really believe that. But I also recognize how truly difficult that is to do.”

Fred Moten in an interview in the New Yorker

Please take the time to read and absorb the information presented here. If you have any questions or concerns, please Contact Lisa. You may also want to take a moment and read the post about Expectations.

My class is an open, inclusive classroom space. What that means is that we want to acknowledge and respect diverse people and opinions and create a learning environment where all people and views are welcome. (You can see some of my theoretical thinking on this subject here.) This can be tricky, though, cause a goal of grad school is to make you uncomfortable and to expand the way you think and move in the world.

But we’re gonna work hard to find a way to those things simultaneously.

What if I don’t learn like everyone else?

See note above about inclusive classroom space. While there is an official institutional policy on these things (see below), here is my policy. I’m here to help you and work with you to achieve your goals. Just talk to me and we’ll find a way to work things out (whether you’ve officially declared or not). Together we can find a way to get you what you need in a format that you need it. This is my commitment to your learning experience.

Official USF policy: Students with disabilities are responsible for registering with Students with Disabilities Services (SDS) in order to receive academic accommodations. SDS encourages students to notify instructors of accommodation needs at least 5 business days prior to needing the accommodation. A letter from SDS must accompany this request.


What do I do if I am struggling in aspects of my life?

There are lots of taboos that we never talk about. Things like money, food, and shelter because it seems we should all have these things, especially if we’re in college. That’s not necessarily true. We also don’t talk about our mental health enough, and it’s really easy to let things pile up mentally to where you start to suffer from the weight of it all.

If you are a parent and have a child care issue, children are welcome. If you car problems or consistent transportation issues, talk to me so we can work out alternative arrangements so that you can still manage things. If you have another problem or concern that is not listed here, please come and talk with me. My door is always open and I’ll find ways to get you the help that you need.


What is this course all about?

Since this is a graduate course in rhetoric and composition, we’re going to start with trying to get our heads around what we mean by composition and theory and then those things together. We’ll use some scholarship from writing studies (write large) to drive our weekly discussions, but you’ll be responsible for a big heavy lift by bringing in readings (almost each week) that work with the topic for the week and more importantly, work with how you see yourself as a scholar/teacher/practitioner.

So what’s in it for me, you may ask? Since y’all have a lot of different aims and goals, we’re going to focus on the big ideas and concepts in hopes that you can then transfer these into your own goals and projects. How you want to use it or think about using it is completely up to you. (See Design & Create assignment for more details.) Throughout just keep the terms “composition” and “theory” in the forefront as we try to figure out what they mean (to you and collectively) and then unsettle those ideas.


What books and materials will I need?

We will be using parts of pieces of a number of texts. We will not be using any one text completely, so if you’re a hold it in your hand person, you’ll need to set aside funds for printing pages from an online source. Otherwise, I’ll provide links to the materials or specific ways for you to obtain the readings and things that you’ll need. Many of the things we will be reading are journal articles. I will give you the citation, but it’s a useful exercise for you to become a library master and obtain the materials for yourself. If you need a short course in how to use the library website, please let me know. See the course schedule for more specific information.


What are we going to be doing in class?

We’re going to be talking alot and sharing and discussing. This will often involve you working with another student or two and then reporting back to the class. You may be asked to share some of the writing we may do in class. I recognize these sorts of activities do not work well for everyone, but we’ll work through a way to discuss and to share in ways that work for each of you.


How many classes can I miss? I strongly encourage that you miss no classes at all. However, I understand life happens so we’ll try to work something out if you’re willing to do your part. Just talk to me about it.


How will my grade be calculated?

See Assignments where you’ll find more information about the assignments and their weight, as well as information about collaborative projects and my grading philosophy. This is the equivalent to the USF system mandate for “Basis for Final Grade” and “Grade Dissemination.”


What are the USF mandated policies that must appear on the syllabus? Here they are. Verbatim as required.

Academic Integrity of Students: Academic integrity is the foundation of the University of South Florida System’s commitment to the academic honesty and personal integrity of its university community. Academic integrity is grounded in certain fundamental values, which include honesty, respect, and fairness. Broadly defined, academic honesty is the completion of all academic endeavors and claims of scholarly knowledge as representative of one’s own efforts. The final decision on an academic integrity violation and related academic sanction at any USF System institution shall affect and be applied to the academic status of the student throughout the USF System, unless otherwise determined by the independently accredited institution.

Disruption to Academic Process: Disruptive students in the academic setting hinder the educational process. Disruption of the academic process is defined as the act, words, or general conduct of a student in a classroom or other academic environment which in the reasonable estimation of the instructor: (a) directs attention away from the academic matters at hand, such as noisy distractions, persistent, disrespectful or abusive interruption of lecture, exam, academic discussion, or general University operations, or (b) presents a danger to the health, safety, or well-being of self or other persons.

Student Academic Grievance Procedures: The purpose of these procedures is to provide all undergraduate and graduate students taking courses within the University of South Florida System an opportunity for objective review of facts and events pertinent to the cause of the academic grievance. An “academic grievance” is a claim that a specific academic decision or action that affects that student’s academic record or status has violated published policies and procedures, or has been applied to the grievant in a manner different from that used for other students.

Sexual Misconduct/Sexual Harassment Reporting: USF is committed to providing an environment free from sex discrimination, including sexual harassment and sexual violence (USF System Policy 0-004). The USF Center for Victim Advocacy and Violence Prevention is a confidential resource where you can talk about incidents of sexual harassment and gender-based crimes including sexual assault, stalking, and domestic/relationship violence. This confidential resource can help you without having to report your situation to either the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities (OSSR) or the Office of Diversity, Inclusion, and Equal Opportunity (DIEO), unless you request that they make a report. Please be aware that in compliance with Title IX and under the USF System Policy, educators must report incidents of sexual harassment and gender-based crimes including sexual assault, stalking, and domestic/relationship violence. If you disclose any of these situations in class, in papers, or to me personally, I am required to report it to OSSR or DIEO for investigation. Contact the USF Center for Victim Advocacy and Violence Prevention: (813) 974-5757.

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