Classroom Policies

Unless otherwise noted, the following are the general policies by which student work will be evaluated for those categories that appear on the syllabus.


All materials are graded based on a ten-point scale:


In order to earn a grade of 90 or above, student work must provide evidence of advanced creative thinking or scholarly reflection / engagement beyond  simple recitation or description.

EXCEPTION: Work submitted without proper citation of consulted / quoted sources (via footnotes, end notes, or parenthetical references) will not earn a grade above 89, regardless of its overall merit. (Exempt assignments are noted in the individual course syllabi.)

Work that simply recites or repeats the data or arguments of other sources but contains no evidence of advanced creative thinking or scholarly reflection/engagement will earn a grade no higher than an 89.

Work that is inferior to that which is expected at the college level will earn a grade no higher than 75.

Extra Credit

The assignment of extra credit is my decision, and is usually connected with attempts to encourage your participation in (or attendance at) extra- and co-curricular events. Unless otherwise stated, extra credit will be considered only if your final grade is close to a grading threshold (see above), and will be applied only at my discretion at the end of the semester.


Evaluation of in-class participation will be based on three components:

  • Class attendance
  • In-class discussion; and
  • Evidence of reflection on reading assignments

It is University policy that students attend all scheduled class meetings. Mere class attendance is considered average, and will result in a “Class Participation” grade of 80%. Less than regular and consistent attendance will result in a lower grade. Students observed texting, sleeping, conversing, or using their computers for non-class related purposes will be considered absent for that day.

CAUTION: Questions asked or statements made that suggest you have not completed the class readings or have missed class discussions will have an adverse impact on your class participation evaluation.

NOTE: Federal guidelines tie some forms of financial aid to class attendance. Students who receive those forms of financial and who stop attending class before a certain point of the semester may be required to return the funds received as financial aid for that semester.

An “Academic Alert” may be submitted for any student who is absent for two or more consecutive class meetings.

Excused Absence

Do not seek my permission to miss class. We presume that you are an adult; if you decide that another activity is more important than any particular class, accept that there may be consequences to your decision. Students who miss class are responsible for all work and assignments. Do not make a habit of missing class. Irregular patterns of attendance will be addressed in the class participation grade, in addition to any intellectual deficit caused by the absences.

 Class Cancellation

Information about campus-wide campus closures are broadcast via the University Web site. However, on occasion I may be unable to reach campus, even if the University remains open. Please check you email at least 30 minutes before the start of class for emergency updates.


Unless arrangements are made with me in advance, assignments submitted after the due date but before the material is discussed in class (or graded and returned) will receive full credit. Assignments submitted after the material has been discussed (or graded and returned) will receive half credit (50%). Assignments turned in after the last scheduled class meeting will earn no credit (0%).


VWU policy: “An Incomplete is given at the discretion of the instructor when circumstances beyond the control of the student prevent the completion of course requirements.” (Please see the University catalog for more information.)

Helpful Advice

I assign the reading, but I may not go over it in class unless specifically requested. The reading is your opportunity to encounter the materials; our class is our time to explore beyond the readings. However, you will be held accountable for ALL readings AND class discussions for any quiz or exam (depending on the class’s syllabus). Readings should be completed by the date given in the syllabus, unless otherwise directed by me.

General Policies

Unless otherwise indicated:

  • Cellular telephones must be turned off or set to “vibrate” mode during class.
  • Individual computers may be used by students in class; however, students suspected of using them during class for anything other than course-related activities will be identified as absent for that class.
  • Announcements, changes, and general information not communicated in class will be transmitted via electronic mail (“email”). You are responsible for checking for such information in a timely manner.
  • Exams are scheduled by the Office of the Registrar BEFORE the beginning of each semester. I will NOT entertain requests for an alternate exam date without PROOF of extraordinary circumstances constituting an EMERGENCY.
  • Unauthorized collaboration is considered academic dishonesty, and is strictly forbidden. You will be held to the VWU Honor Code, and you are expected to be familiar with it. Any evidence of academic dishonesty will be investigated and prosecuted to the fullest extent possible.
  • Materials suggesting acts of academic dishonesty will be returned to submitting students only if / when suspicions are addressed to my satisfaction.
  • All unclaimed assignments will be destroyed at the end of the following semester.

Policy on Special Needs &/or Accommodations

Virginia Wesleyan University is committed to giving all students the opportunity for academic success. If you are a student who is requesting accommodations based on the academic impact of a disability, please speak to me about your accommodations letter and your specific needs. If you do not have an accommodations letter for this course, you will need to visit or call for an appointment with Crit Muniz, Executive Director of Academic Support Services, at (757) 233-8898, or by email: ( Academic Support Services is located in the Learning Center on the 2nd floor of Clarke Hall.

I am always happy to meet with any student who expresses a desire to discuss a matter privately –  whether or not it is course-related. Please feel free to contact me before or after class, or by email if you wish to chat. (Conversations are confidential; however, depending on the circumstances I may encourage you to speak with member of the Virginia Wesleyan University community who is better trained to address specific issues.)

Honoring Perspectives

One goal of the educational process is learning about diverse perspectives and identities. It is my intent to create a learning environment that is inclusive, welcoming, and honors your individual identities. If something is said in class that makes you uncomfortable, please do not hesitate to speak to me.

Also, please do not hesitate to reach out in person or via email if your preferred name or pronouns differ from your official Virginia Wesleyan records.

[“Talking About Pronouns” (Human Rights Campaign pdf.)]

WARNING: My classes are designed to challenge the way you think about religion, yourself, or the world. If you are concerned that such a challenge is beyond your capacity to endure, please do not take my classes!