Dr. Carter’s General Policies

The following are general policies for all my classes. This is the second half of my syllabi for every class. It is the section that I used to edit each year, then copy and paste into each document. Now it lives here, as a dynamic (versioned) document that I can share with my students.

No one has to “earn” your respect for you to treat them with respect. We treat people with respect because it benefits us, them and everyone else around them. It allows us to have difficult and sometimes controversial discussions. This means that you do your best to see the world from the perspectives of others and understand how your perspective is different. You should be trying to think from the perspectives of your peers (in all their diversity), Kalahari hunters and gatherers, Mesopotamian slaves, Mayan lords, charcoal makers of the Blue Mountains and every other variety of humanity we will discuss in my courses.

Evidence, Not Opinions
Higher education is based on evidence. While there are a myriad of types of evidence that can be brought to a conversation, such as your personal experience, surveys, measurements, peer-reviewed journal articles, etc, your opinion is NOT evidence. That does not mean that your opinion is irrelevant either. Indeed, much of college is about questioning and trying to understand your own biases and how they structure your experience and those around you. To that end, I also want you always wondering and questioning- what evidence has not been discussed or even collected? Can you find more to contribute to the class?

Academic Integrity Code.
All students are expected to comply with the requirements of the Muhlenberg College Academic Integrity Code as per the Student Handbook (www.muhlenberg.edu/main/aboutus/dean-academic/integrity). Everyone in the class is dependent upon the adherence by other students to this code. Because any infraction is seen as an offense to instructor and fellow students alike, I have a strict zero tolerance policy for cheating and plagiarism. If caught- and I am diligent about trying to identify potential offenses- students will receive a zero for the assignment and potentially for the class.

Students with disabilities requesting classroom or course accommodations must complete a multi-faceted determination process through the Office of Disability Services prior to the development and implementation of accommodations, auxiliary aids, and services. Each Accommodation Plan is individually and collaboratively developed between the student and the Office of Disability Services. If you have not already done so, please contact the Office of Disability Services to have a dialogue regarding your academic needs and the recommended accommodations, auxiliary aides, and services.

Citations Style:
All citations and references for this course should be in Chicago Author-Date style. Please note that there are two Chicago styles- be sure you are using the correct one! You can find a summary here and the full documentation on Trexler Library’s website here.

Electronic devices:
Computers, iPads, etc. can be incredibly useful devices in the classroom. However, they can also be the ultimate distraction for you and those around you. If you would like to use one of these devices, please have a brief conversation with me about how you plan to use it. All devices should contribute to learning. Similarly, I expect you to disconnect from your device- that is no checking texts, email, Wikipedia, etc. during class. Your attention is required in class and digital devices WANT to distract you! NO ELECTRONIC DEVICES ARE ALLOWED FOR ASSESSMENTS! If you are caught, you will fail the assessment.

Most assignments are graded on a percentage/letter grade/ GPA scale as follows:

Percentage Letter GPA (as per College policy)
100-94% A/A+ 4.0
93-90% A- 3.7
89-87% B+ 3.3
86-84% B 3.0
83-80% B- 2.7
79-77% C+ 2.3
76- 74% C 2.0
73-70% C- 1.7
69-65% D 1.0
<65% F 0.0

The following should give you a general (and very, very brief) idea about how I consider grades:

Grade Assignments Exams
A Topics are well understood and deeply considered. Perfect to near perfect.
B Expectations met. Quite well understood and considered. Good to excellent
C Meets basic expectations. Fair
D Completed assignment, but does not meet basic expectations. Poor
F Does not meet expectations. Fail
Zero Assignment not completed Fail

Attendance Policy
You should be in class. There are very few reasons that are acceptable for missing class. These might include illness (please don’t get the rest of us sick!), a death in the family, etc. If you feel you just don’t have the time to come to class because you have too much other work, then you probably need to rethink your time management.

Assignment Tardiness/ Completion:

  • All assignments, unless otherwise specifically indicated in the assignment, are due on Canvas one hour prior to the beginning of class.
  • You must bring a copy of assignment to class on the day that they are due, unless otherwise indicated. These can be in a digital format, unless otherwise stated.
  • Late assignments will not be accepted unless arranged with the instructor a reasonable amount of time prior to the due date/time. Acceptable excuses are limited and likely involve the timing of difficult and unavoidable situations.
  • All assignments MUST be completed in order to pass this course.
  • Missed exams without prior discussion with the instructor cannot be taken and will result in a 0 for the assignment.

Out-of-Class Expectations.
The general rule is that students should expect to spend approximately 1.5 hours preparing for each hour of class time. That means you should spend somewhere in the range of 4-5 hours per week preparing for class. This may spike and dip, so be aware of upcoming work. Note that required hours may be higher for upper level courses, such as Field Archaeology and Senior Seminar.

In-Class expectations.
Generally speaking, this course focuses on discussion and activities. You will have assigned readings and we will discuss them during class. The second rule, therefore is to have done the required reading. The more everyone comes to class prepared, the less time we spend going over the basics and the more time we spend truly discussing the subject at hand. That also means that you learn more.

Course Unit Instruction.
This class is scheduled to meet for 3 hours per week.  Additional instructional activities include group meetings, service learning and attendance at specified college lectures and events. This will add an additional 14 hours of instruction.

I generally use Canvas for the distribution of readings that are not in required texts and as the primary location for the schedule for the class.

Naming Conventions and Sharing via Google
When you submit a document (whether in MS Word format or as a Google doc), please label it as follows- lastnamefirstinitial_class_nameofassignment. For example, carterb_ATH155_finalpaper . Similarly, for many courses, I request that you share an entire folder in Google, please use the same naming conventions, otherwise, I have 25 folders all called “Journal”. Even if you have saved the file in a shared folder, you must submit the file at the appropriate location in Canvas in order for it to be graded.

My primary modes for communication are in-class and via email. If I announce a change in the schedule in class and you are absent, it is your responsibility to discover it. I will also send announcements via your Muhlenberg email. There are no excuses for not checking this email.

Office Hours/ Making Appointments
Our new GSuite accounts allow easy scheduling of office hour appointments. Please sign up for an office hour appointment using GSuite. This guarantees that I will be in my office; I will normally be there, but without an appointment, you may find that I am briefly out of my offie. Here’s how to do it: Google Appointment instructions (your instructions are at the bottom). You will find the links for scheduling these on my Contact page .

Since a significant portion of graded work in my courses are based upon participation that cannot be completed once the course is over, grades of Incomplete will not be granted if those components are missed, except under very special circumstances. Any requests for an incomplete must be in the form of a conversation with the instructor and must be accompanied by a written request. These requests must be made before the Final Exam period. If an incomplete is granted, a complete plan must be made for conversion of the incomplete into a grade. If the plan is not completed by the agreed upon time, it will be converted into an F.

 Religious Holidays.
The Chaplain has issued a document of the significant holy days for the upcoming academic year.  September has nine days requiring work restrictions or fasting for various religious practices. You can find the holy days calendar online at http://muhlenberg.edu/main/campuslife/religiouslife/holydays/ .

After the first two weeks, no student should withdraw without a conversation with the instructor. Please see the registrar’s website for the deadline for withdrawal.

First-day Drop Policy.
Please note that students not attending the first day of classes are responsible for dropping the course.  Students are NOT automatically dropped if they do not attend the first meeting.