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Classroom Environment

I am committed to creating a classroom environment that fosters learning by challenging you to expand your knowledge, your skills, and your perspective, but also by encouraging you to take risks and not be afraid to fail now and again.

Respecting each other is important for all aspects of campus life, especially when it comes to classroom decorum. I respect your unique life experiences that have brought you to this moment in this classroom, and I require that you offer that same respect to your peers and to me. This means that we consider and accept the limitations in our perspectives (we all have them!) and how that influences our perception of topics, events, circumstances, and other points of view. We show respect by being polite and well-informed when we challenge perspectives or assertions, and we accept challenges of our own perspective with open ears and informed rebuttals. In this way, discussions are not about being “right” or “winning,” but about increasing understanding and progressing discourse.

Vulgar, rude, obnoxious or immature behavior does not show respect, and so is not acceptable. This includes verbal and physical harassment, interruptions while others are speaking, and any other kinds of rude behavior. We show that we respect others by listening to them and avoiding interrupting or dominating the discussion.

Sometimes we make small mistakes out of passion or ignorance, and this is understandable as long as we recognize the mistake and correct it. I or a peer may call attention to such a mistake, and it is important to listen and consider. Blatant and willful acts of disrespect, including being disruptive, abusive, or offensive, will not be tolerated, and will result in the immediate expulsion of the student from the classroom, an absence for that class, and depending on the severity of the incident may result in referral to the department and the Dean of Students.

Any student who feels threatened or uncomfortable in this class should immediately contact me.


I respect that you are an adult and have responsibilities that might lead to making tough decisions, such as whether to stay out of class due to being ill or an emergency, or whether to take a call or return a text message that comes during class time. If you must respond to a call or message, please do so by quietly leaving the classroom. I encourage you to be healthy and safe, staying out of class if you are contagious. When such circumstances arise for me, I will always respect your time by informing you through email and Blackboard; I expect that you will do the same, letting me and your team know if you will be late or absent for a class, a meeting, or an online activity. Note that this respectful communication does not reduce the standard penalty in Scholarly Contribution for absences; you cannot contribute if you are not in class.

Also note that, according to the university catalog, Chapman University “recommends as a minimal policy that students who are absent 20 percent of the course should be failed” (i.e., more than 6 meetings). This policy will be enforced, unless specific arrangements have been made ahead of time with me. Any exceptions to the absence policy (missing more than 6 class sessions in a twice-per-week course, or 3 classes in a once-per-week course) will be at the discretion of the professor, and are typically reserved to extreme medical events or family tragedies. Social events, extracurricular projects (work, internship, etc), and class projects from other classes (film shoots, for example) will not be considered as exceptions.


We also show respect by refraining from using our devices unless directly necessary for the discussion or classroom activity. Listening to headphones, texting, surfing social media all indicate to your peers and me that what we are doing is not important to you; it’s like having a conversation with someone, and as you are talking they start pecking away at their phone. I ask that phones be completely silent and out of your hands, and laptops and tablets be used only for taking notes or accessing course appropriate documents and research. Any use of your personal electronic devices outside of scope of class activity will result in an automatic absence for that class session. The Office of Legal Affairs was very adamant that I cannot cut off your hand as a penalty, so this is the next best deterrent.

Individuals with disabilities are welcomed and supported fully in our class. Working with the Disability Services Office is the most effective way to get the accommodations you deserve and need, and I encourage you to utilize that resource (see below). But I also understand that we learn in a wide variety of ways, and so if there is a specific method or accommodation that you have found helps you succeed in the writing classroom, please meet with me so that we can make your experience in this class the best it can be.

Back to ENG 270 syllabus

Back to ENG 328 syllabus

Back to ENG 471 syllabus