Course Expectations and Policies

Course Policies

To be successful in this class you must read prior to arrival to class; you need to be prepared each and every day The following are unwelcome and unacceptable within this class.

  1. Doing work for other classes, reading newspapers, sleeping, and using phone during class will result in an absence for that day.
  2. Sleeping, daydreaming or otherwise tuning out during class
  3. Habitual tardiness.  If you are late, you MUST SIT IN THE FIRST ROW AND SPEAK WITH ME AT THE CONCLUSION OF CLASS.  If you arrive after 15 minutes, this will count out 1/2 of an absence
  4. Packing up your notebook and other materials prior to the end of class
  5. Reading the newspaper, another book, or otherwise focusing on something other than classChatting to classmates
  6. Getting up during class because you feel thirty or hungry. Leaving class early
  7. Turn cell phones off upon arrival to class – Absolutely no texting or phone calls DURING CLASS. Please note that if I see your cell phone/other handheld device (not if it rings) whether because you’ve decided to text message, check scores, show a friend a picture or listen to messages, you will be marked absence for the day
  8. Computer usage within class is strictly forbidden except in specific circumstances (disability accommodation) and with permission from instructor.  In other words, no laptop/iPad/tablet to take notes in class. Please take notes by hand. Those with disabilities for whom hand note taking is difficult or impossible, please alert me in writing at the beginning of the course and feel free to use electronic aids.


I expect you to observe the following proprieties in your email messages, as you would with any professional colleague:

  • Emails must have a specific salutation:  “Dear Dr. Leonard/,” “Dear Professor Leonard/,” or “Good Morning/Afternoon/Evening Professor Leonard/” are all appropriate.” “Hi,” “Hey,” “Mr. Leonard” or no salutation is an incorrect and inappropriate way to begin an email to me.
  • Emails must be sent from your WSU account, unless an emergency requires you to use an alternate account. If you send from an alternate account, please follow up with me if you do not hear from me within 24 hours.
  • Emails must close with a signature (“Sincerely,” “Thank you,” etc.)
  • Emails should be grammatically correct, clear, and concise.
  • Emails should not be sent to request info you can get elsewhere with minimal effort (i.e., my office hours, office location, phone number, due dates, location of the library, etc. All these are listed either on tumblr or the syllabus. I may or may not respond to such emails.)
  • Assume that your response will come within 24 hours; if it hasn’t come by then, do feel free to remind me of your message.
  • If you have a complaint or concern about something, you should always come to see me about it in person. Email is not an appropriate forum for anything important enough to be dealt with in an extended conversation, or for a discussion in which email, because it can’t convey tone, might allow for misinterpretation.
  • Please don’t email me to ask if I will be in office hours. Unless I have specifically stated in class that I won’t be there, I will always be available during office hours on a drop-in basis or by appointment.

Course Expectations

Despite the size of the class, it is my hope that this class is a lively educational space defined by interaction, discussions,  and critical thinking.  It is important to produce a classroom that is open, respectful, and trusting.  Following the above rules will contribute to a productive educational environment; of equal importance will be the respect shown for the class, its members, and the ideas discussed therein.  As such, it is crucial that we adhere to certain guidelines.

  1. Be respectful of others, in terms of engaging and listening to lectures, peer comments, and other course materials.
  2. Listen and list
  1. Reflect on social location and work to understand alternative arguments, analysis, and narratives, as well as anger.
  2. Acknowledge that racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, and other institutionalized forms of oppression exist.
  3. Acknowledge that one mechanism of institutionalized racism, classism, sexist, heterosexism, etc. is that we are all systematically taught misinformation about our own group and about members of other groups.  This is true for members of privileged and oppressed groups.
  4. Read in an engaged way, recognizing the ideology and politics imbedded in every text.  Make notes in the margins – “dialogue” with the text, using exclamation points, questions or issue complete statements, questions or critiques.  Ask yourself: what is significant in this piece, what elicits anger/sadness/laughter, but go beyond emotional responses to be prepared to make specific statements about the reading!
  5. Be aware of your own subject position, ideologies, privileges and prejudices.  Recognize your own relationship to institutions of power and structures of domination.  This can help you make specific connections to the reading, class discussions and other forms of feedback.  Rather than proclaiming, “This article sucks,” or “You are wrong,” you can get more specific about the basis and origins of your reaction.  For example, rather then engaging in a discussion about homosexuality with statements of disgust and contempt, it might be better to state: “From my position as a white male, who was raised with the teachings of the Bible, I find homosexuality a bit troubling, especially in the context of the arguments made by ________ on page ____.”
  6. Agree to combat actively the myths and stereotypes about your own “group” and other groups so that we can break down the walls that prohibit group cooperation and group gain.  Read and listen with recognition of other people’s subject position and ideologies.  LISTEN TO OTHERS!
  7. Reflect on our choice of language in and outside of class, striving to rid our vocabulary of racist, sexist, homophobic words, phrases.  Recognize that your choice of words reflect your own ideological position and may bother others (think about how others may react to your words – not just content, but the way we chose to express those thoughts)
  8. Create a safe atmosphere for open discussion.  If members of the class may wish to make comments that they do no want repeated outside the classroom, they can preface their remarks with a request that the class agree not to repeat the remarks.  Also, think about your language (including body language), posture, etc. contributes to safe/empowering or disempowering/unsafe learning environment.
  9. Take Risks: I want this class to be a space where everyone should feel comfortable enough to disagree with each other.  This needs to be safe space so reflect on the ways you engage others with your own pronouncements and how you react (with words, body language) to their statements – react privilege and positionality
  10. Read and dialogue in a politically engaged way.  Racial Dynamics, for our purposes here, reflects power, and relationship to systems/sources of power.  Power dynamics are contextual (situational) and relational.  You may have power in some spaces and lack it in others, all depending on social location.  Ask yourself these questions while reading and discussing within the classroom space: Is the analysis leaving anyone relevant out? For what reasons?  Where is this analysis coming from?  Whose knowledge base is being explored or forwarded?
  11. Speak with evidence and “facts” on your side.  Despite the popular pronouncements that there are no wrong answers, there are incomplete, problematic, superficial, surfaced, and unsubstantiated answers.  Reflect on your own answers and the basis of your conclusions
  12. Go beyond an either/or dichotomyIncorporate a both/and approach rather than an “either/or.”
  13. Recognize the knowledge base of your peers.  Its ok – recommended and great, in fact – to respond to a counterpoint with “hey, I’ve never thought of it that way,” or “well, you do make a good point – I’ll have to think about that for a while.”  Discussion in this class isn’t about proving, embarrassing, showing off, winning, losing, convincing, holding one’s argument to the bitter end – its about dialogue, debate and self-reflections.


DON’T DO IT!  What constitutes cheating: Turning in any work that is not yours and yours completely, which includes using a “cheat sheet,” copying the answers from a peer, copying and pasting from a website, copying a friend’s work, etc.  If someone else said it, wrote it, thought it, etc. give them credit – DON’T STEAL THE INTELLECTUAL WORK OF OTHERS.  For more information, please see the Standards for Student Conduct WAC 504-26-010 (3).  Your failure to follow these basic instructions, to respect the classroom, to take the easy route, to be in the business of pretending to learn, think, analyze, and otherwise be a student, is not acceptable in any regard.  What this means is that if you cheat, you will receive a “0” for that assignment and you will be reported to the Office of the Dean of Students.  Any decision to violate the sanctity and purpose of the classroom leaves me with little choice in this regard.  If you are unfamiliar with WSU policy regarding cheating and confused as to what constitutes cheating (plagiarism), please consult the Standards for Student Conduct found here:


Students with Disabilities

Students with Disabilities: Reasonable accommodations are available for students with a documented disability. If you have a disability and need accommodations to fully participate in this class, please either visit or call the Access Center. (Washington Building 217; 509-335-3417) to schedule an appointment with an Access Advisor. All accommodations MUST be approved through the Access Center. For more information contact a Disability Specialist on your home campus: 509-335-3417,

Emergency Notification System:[1]

Washington State University is committed to enhancing the safety of the students, faculty, staff, and visitors. It is highly recommended that you review the Campus Safety Plan ( and visit the Office of Emergency Management web site ( for a comprehensive listing of university policies, procedures, statistics, and information related to campus safety, emergency management, and the health and welfare of the campus community.”



[1] Taken from syllabus of Dr. Shanté Paradigm Smalls (earlier portions taken as well),

[2] From T & L 589 syllabus of Dr. Paula Groves Price



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: