General Course Policies

While additional policies and resources may apply to individual courses, the following policies and resources generally apply to courses I teach at East Carolina University.

Resources & Policies

I see resources and policies as two sides of the same coin. Resources support your learning, while policies are guidelines we mutually agree to in order to support one another’s learning. It’s important that all class members know about the policies we will abide by and the resources available. This page will remain fairly static, so feel free to bookmark it for your future time at ECU as well.

learning environment

(Dis)ability Support

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal antidiscrimination statute that requires that all qualified students with documented disabilities be guaranteed reasonable accommodation. I prefer to consider the requirements of the ADA a minimum threshold. In other words, I want to work with students on strategies to promote success and I hope you will each talk with me about how I can best provide the means for you to do well in this course. Any student needing further information or to arrange accommodation for a documented disability should contact the Department for Disability Support Services, 138 Slay Building, 252-737-1016. Please do be aware that I may not always be able to provide retroactive accommodations, so you should make arrangements as soon as possible.

Social Support

I also am dedicated to creating a learning environment that is just regardless of social situation as well as ability. If you need to bring your child/children to class occasionally, so long as you can do so with minimal disruption to others’ learning, please do so.

Mental Wellness

I understand that as a student you may experience a range of issues that can cause barriers to learning, such as strained relationships, increased anxiety, alcohol/drug concerns, depression, difficulty concentrating and/or lack of motivation. These stressful moments can impact academic performance or reduce your ability to engage. The University offers services to assist you with addressing these or ANY other concerns you may be experiencing. If you or someone you know are suffering from any challenges, please reach out for support. For more information, contact the Center for Counseling and Student Development (328-6661) or ECU’s non-profit psychology clinic to make an appointment. You might also be interested in ECU Cares if you’re facing an acute situation that the university can help mediate.

Non-ECU affiliated resources:

  • REAL Crisis: 252-758-4357
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
  • Crisis Text Line: text HOME to 741741
  • The Steve Fund (specific to young people of color): text STEVE to 741741
  • The Trevor Project (specific to those who identify as LGBTQ+): 1-866-488-7386 or text START to 678678
  • Veterans Crisis Line: 1-800-273-8255 and press 1 or text 838255; for deaf and hard of hearing call 1-800-799-4889

Electronic Devices in Class

Electronic devices in class are encouraged. In the digital era, you will consistently use multiple electronic devices in your daily work and it is important that you begin now to develop strategies for making effective use of those devices in the workplace. Further, electronic devices can increase accessibility and usability, so think about how you might use them to your best advantage. You should engage in good studentship practices in your use of electronic devices. I will rarely intervene if I notice you are off-task on your electronic devices unless you are disrupting others; however, I will not repeat material from class that you missed because you were otherwise occupied, and I may count you absent if your distraction prevents you from engaging in class. Please use electronic devices to support your learning.

Academic links

Canvas – our learning management system (LMS)

Joyner Library – the main library for west campus

University Writing Center – The UWC


Courses usually require:

  • Ability to engage with readings provided as PDF and Word documents
  • Regular, reliable internet access
  • Word-processing capability
  • Digital storage capability

On-campus computer labs can provide much of this support. Find a lab with what you need here:

Academic Integrity & Professionalism

The Academic Integrity Policy governs student conduct directly related to academic activities. All alleged violations of the policy must be resolved in accordance with the procedures outlined in Part IV Academic Integrity of the East Carolina University Faculty Manual. You are responsible for knowing this code. In this course, engaging in these practices are signs that you exhibit academic integrity and professionalism:

  • Thoroughly prepare the readings so that you can best complete the hard work of this course. This means you should actively read for content and themes (rather than trying to read every word on every page), taking main ideas and significant occurrences from the texts we cover and critically examining them. You should be prepared to offer notes, questions, and ideas about the readings. You should be sure to look over all readings at the beginning of the course (or at least a few days ahead of the due date) and estimate how long it will take you to thoroughly prepare for each reading so that you have plenty of time to seek assistance if needed.
  • Be a responsible member of the class community. Be respectful of peers, the instructor, and guests. Hate speech and discriminatory language will not be tolerated. Be aware that mutual respect includes educating yourself so that you can address people by their appropriate titles and pronouns in person and in written correspondence. Failure to do so demonstrates a lack of rhetorical awareness and thus may impact your grade in the course.
  • Employ honesty. This means, among other things, completing and submitting your own original work. The use of all sources should be properly documented in all work for this course. If you have any questions about how or when to cite sources, contact me. In 3000-level and above courses, ignorance is not an excuse for plagiarism or improperly cited work.
  • Prepare your work on time, or ask for an extension in an appropriate way. I usually do not accept late work. I do, however, understand that life does not begin or end with class and I am willing to grant extensions or otherwise work with students who make an effort to communicate with me. While you may touch base with me in-person beforehand if you like, all extensions must be officially requested by email. This provides us both with a record of the request and my response. Although I almost always agree to extensions, please do realize that I have the right to refuse such a request and schedule your request for an extension accordingly. (Note that backing up digital files is a necessary professional practice and I may not grant extensions if you failed to back up files.)

assessment & revision

Be sure to look over course materials carefully and ask any questions you may have about course structure and grading in the first week.

Writing is a major part of your work here, and good writing is hard work that happens over time. Writing is never done, and no one is ever an expert in every genre of writing. For this reason, you should expect that good writing in the context of this course will take practice. You should plan multiple drafts, utilize the University Writing Center, and make use of office hours if you expect an above-average grade. If you take the course seriously, challenge yourself, accept feedback, and pay careful attention to your writing and to the writing of others, then your skills, confidence, and success in writing will grow.

To learn the details of each assignment, please carefully read the assignment instructions. Note that some assignments have multiple parts and/or are aimed at specific audiences. It is important to complete all parts of each assignment; even the strongest writing can become ineffective if the entire assignment is not complete.

In some cases, I may allow revisions of assignments. While you should not always expect this to be possible, do ask about revising if you are not satisfied with your earned grade. To revise, I require that you visit the UWC and then turn in 1) your original draft 2) your UWC visit report  3) your revised draft and 4) a memo detailing the changes you made and why.

I am available for grade consultations and discussions about how to improve performance. If you ever have a question about your grade, please don’t hesitate to ask. I always want you to understand why you earned what you did. However, do be aware that the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) does not allow me to discuss specifics of grades over email (although it does not prevent you from talking to me about your grades over email, since your grades are your private information to do with as you wish). While I may be able to offer generalized feedback to you over email, any detailed discussion involving specific grades will require a meeting.

Writing Across the Curriculum

Writing is an important component of all courses I teach, and most of these are additionally labeled as Writing Intensive (WI). The twelve-hour Writing Intensive requirement for the Writing Across the Curriculum Program at East Carolina University  focuses on the development of writing skills. Upon completion of a WI course, students will:

  • Use writing to investigate complex, relevant topics and address significant questions through engagement with and effective use of credible sources.
  • Produce writing that reflects an awareness of context, purpose, and audience, particularly within the written genres (Including genres that integrate writing with visuals, audio or other multimodal components) of their major disciplines and/or career fields.
  • Demonstrate that they understand writing as a process that can be made more effective through drafting revision.
  • Proofread and edit their own writing, avoiding grammatical and mechanical errors.
  • Assess and explain the major choices that they make in their writing.

Students are encouraged to visit the University Writing Center to further these learning goals. The University Writing Center offers both online and face-to-face tutoring.