Dr. Carter’s General Policies

The following are general policies for all of Dr. Carter’s classes. This is the second half of my syllabi for every class I teach.

Student Hours*

I’ve changed the name here because “Student hours” better describes the purpose of this chunk of time. Student hours are an essential part the value of a liberal arts education. They are NOT only for those who need assistance. Students may attend individually or in groups. Potential topics we could discuss during office hours include:

  • current course content and how to manage your time/effort.
  • navigating Muhlenberg specifically and college in general.
  • a topic related to class material that you are interested in knowing more about.
  • future career plans.
  • Majoring or minoring in anthropology and the value of a degree in anthropology
  • how anthropologists are reacting to current events.
  • research opportunities.
  • a critique of something I said or did in class;  I have been growing as an educator for decades now and I hope to grow for many more- student feedback is essential to this process.
  • something you think that I (or others) covered or said was racist, misogynistic, ableist, ageist, or otherwise problematic. I strive to make my classroom comfortable for everyone. If you feel it is not, I encourage you to tell me so that I can adjust.
  • and many more.

Student/ Office Hours- Dr. Carter’s office hours are listed here, but note that “by appointment” is an option.

It hope that you think it goes without saying, but we treat everyone in this class with respect. No one has to “earn” respect to be treated respectfully. We treat people with respect because it makes engaging with each other and learning possible. It allows us to have difficult and controversial conversations. This means that you do your best to see the world from the perspectives of others and understand how and why your perspective is different. Topics in this class may cause us to react emotionally. Emotions are important, but you should be trying to think from the perspectives of your peers (in all their diversity) but also from the people that we discuss such as hunters and gatherers of the Kalahari, enslaved people in the American South, Mayan lords, charcoal makers of the Blue Mountains and every other variety of humanity.

Evidence and Opinions
Scholarship is based on evidence. Scholars are trained to utilize methods to build interpretations; methods that are the result of hundreds of years of scholarship. This does NOT mean we are always “right,” but it does mean that we are working towards accuracy. Critical perspectives, such as those of indigenous scholars, are particularly important because they help question the built in assumptions to those hundreds of years of research. Also, please recognize that your experiences are valuable in this class- they are, in fact, a type of evidence.  Much of college is about questioning and trying to understand your own biases/ opinions 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? How does this reflect (or not) my own life? Engage with interpretation of the evidence presented in class before you judge them. Of course, scholars are far from perfect. Anthropology has a long and problematic history as being racist, colonialist and misogynistic. But, anthropology has also been at the forefront of fighting against those as well. We are actively working on it and, on that note, I doubly appreciate when you challenge archaeology from feminist, anti-racist and postcolonial perspectives.

Student Financial Hardship
If you are experiencing financial hardship, have difficulty affording groceries or accessing sufficient food to eat every day, or do not have a safe and stable place to live, and believe this may affect your performance in this course, I would urge you to check out the resources available to you or contact our CARE Team for support. You may also discuss your concerns with me if you are comfortable doing so.

Academic Resource Center:
The Academic Resource Center (ARC) offers individual and small-group tutoring, course-specific workshops, and academic coaching for all currently enrolled Muhlenberg students. Students may request to be assigned to work on a weekly basis with a tutor. A link to the online tutor request form is available on the ARC website:

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.

Class Recording Policy:
By enrolling and attending Muhlenberg College courses, students consent to the recording of classes within the scope of college policies. The purpose of recording a class is to facilitate the achievement of learning outcomes and/or educational access, with the recording serving as a teaching/learning tool. In all cases where a recording will occur, the instructor must be notified in advance of the recording of a class session. An instructor may give students in the class access to a recording as part of the course curriculum or, alternatively, grant permission to select individuals (including proxy recordings). The instructor may rescind previously granted permission to record at any point during the course, provided that doing so does not compromise an approved accommodation. Any permitted class recordings made by students must be destroyed one week after the final grade is posted for the course, unless the student has received permission from the instructor to retain them or is entitled to retain them as an approved accommodation. Instructors may retain a class recording for other purposes on the condition that all identifying student audio and images are edited out of the recording unless permission has been granted. No instructor will be required to permit recording except under requirements of law.
Class recordings may not be reproduced, transferred, distributed, or displayed in any manner. Students may not share authorized recordings from class in any way with anyone. This includes, but is not limited to: sharing recordings with other students, parents or guardians, friends; on social media; posting recordings online; emailing recordings to anyone; and retaining downloaded recordings.

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. Infractions harm the student, the instructor and fellow students. If caught, students will be required to have a conversation with Dr. Carter about appropriate consequences. Infractions will be reported to the Dean (largely to ensure that it is not a pattern). Also, there is a wonderful description of what plagiarism is here.

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. All devices should contribute to learning. Similarly, I expect you to disconnect from non-classroom material – Please, no checking texts, email, Wikipedia, etc. during class. Your attention is required in class and digital devices WANT to distract you! However, if you have a situation where these are necessary (e.g., an ill family member or a young child), please just let me know. No electronic devices are allowed for tests, unless approved as an accommodation (see above).  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

Attendance Policy
I hope that you will be in class, for your own benefit. Reasons missing class might include illness (please don’t get the rest of us sick!), a death in the family, religious holiday, etc. You are responsible for the content from missed class. I do not have a rigid attendance policy, but I am keeping track and participation is a component of your grade (kinda hard to participate if you are not in class). I pledge to trust you when you tell me you were unable to make class or finish a assignment. All that I ask is that you communicate with me.

Assignment Tardiness/ Completion:

  • Please bring all completed assignments to class. You may print these out OR have access to a digital copy. We will often use these in class.
  • All assignments, unless otherwise specifically indicated in the assignment, are due on Canvas prior to the beginning of class.
  • Late assignments will not be accepted unless arranged with the instructor a reasonable amount of time prior to the due date/time (Yes, there are some emergency exceptions).
  • 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 the needed hours may be higher for upper level courses, such as Field Archaeology and Senior Seminar.

In-Class expectations.
Generally speaking, my courses focus on discussion and activities, with a bit more lecture in introductory courses. You will have assigned readings and we will discuss them during class. Therefore, you must complete 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 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.

My primary modes for communication are in-class and via Canvas. 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 Canvas. Be sure that you have your settings adjusted so you receive these announcements.

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 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. You can find it 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.

*(formerly known as Office Hours) (added based on tweet by Jen Heemstra, edited based upon feedback from Shawn Graham and Bill Gleason)