Administrative crap, Expectations, Student Expectations

Attendance Policy

  • We take attendance for EVERY class, except for the first week of school and otherwise noted. Attendance is 25% of your grade.
  • Excused absences are those that are documented through the Dean of Students office, and infectious sicknesses with documentation (like the flu).
  • Absences that can be made up (with some limitations) are school-related activities such as sports, debate team, etc, post-graduation job interviews, and grad school interviews.
  • These MUST be cleared in advance with me. You are responsible for finishing your makeup work before the end of the semester.
  • Unexcused absences include: work, sleeping in, mild illness, your computer dying, etc.
  • If you are absent 3 or fewer times during the semester, you will get a bonus of 8 attendance points at the end of the semester.
  • I do not take absences personally. You know how much time and energy you have vs. the demands of your life. Just don’t ask me to give you points for classes you did not attend.
  • If you have SSD accommodations that include absences, please make an appointment with me at the beginning of the semester and we will discuss options.
  • Ask permission, not forgiveness. I am much more likely to work with you if I know what your needs are in advance or as soon as possible.

Expectations, Student Expectations

For my repeat students and students taking multiple courses this semester: Please read

As you (meaning those of you who have taken my classes before) know, I have a variety of guest speakers present during the semester. Some of them you have seen before, and some of the presentations are the same. Some are not. Here is a list of presentations you can either skip if you saw them in a previous semester, or skip one of if you are taking two or more classes during the semester with the same presentation:

  • Center for Child Protection
  • Meg’s presentation on LBGTQ parenting
  • Seedling Mentors

You must notify me and the TA if you want to get attendance for the one you skip. Do this via email to the TA, and cc me. Here are the ones you can’t skip:

  • Blanton Museum
  • Dr. Reiz on attachment theory
  • All other scheduled presentations/guest speakers/instructors
Expectations, Student Expectations, Uncategorized

Summer 2019

I have office hours, usually in my office from 12:45-1:45 on Mondays, but contact me if you’re not in my class because I move around depending on the weather. I will be on campus daily until the end of the second week in July. I will be out of town from July 28-August 5. You can contact me for meetings via email or text.

Please note I will be doing a limited number of grad school recommendations in the Fall semester, so please contact me ASAP if you need one.

Expectations, Student Expectations

Writing Flags: Stuff you should know as of Fall 2019 courses

Here are the things that your APA papers must be or have:

  • Hanging indent – they are annoying, but they are required.
  • Alphabetical references – nonnegotiable
  • No second person (you, yours)
  • In-text citations. Attribution is vital. Sometimes it takes a bit to get a feel for when to use attribution, but we have time.
  • Basic formatting  – Double spaced Times New Roman, 12pts. Cover page on large papers.

Things I will annoy you with so many times that you will eventually give in:

  • Sentence case on titles – I am not going to knock points off your final paper if you don’t catch all of these, but do your best. Most auto-citation stuff (including Zotero) won’t fix this, so you have to go back through and fix it. Do it the first time you cite and you won’t have to worry about it later.
  • Spacing – Pretty much every element in an APA reference has a period and a space after it.
  • Formatting of in-text quotes. They are different depending on whether you are quoting or not, and APA is different than MLA. Watch a tutorial or read the basic page on it in the Purdue Owl and you should be good.
  • Download Zotero. It will help you catalogue and organize your references, and you can drag and drop citations. You can thank me in grad school.

Things I won’t bug you about that I or other teachers may have bugged you about in the past:

  • First person. If you are describing anecdotal information (personal experience) it’s fine. If you are describing your research method, also fine. Just don say, “In my opinion” because that’s implicit and weakens your statement. More details here.
  • “They” as a non-gendered pronoun. APA will likely incorporate this in the next round anyway, and gendering is tricky. So you can say, “They were a good friend” instead of “He or she was a good friend”. Hallelujah. If the gender of the subject isn’t identified, you don’t have to do the whole he/she/one/pluralization dance anymore.
Student Expectations

On Recommendations

I write a lot of recommendations for students. It’s a karma thing – my profs write a lot of them for me. That said, I have between 75-150 students per semester so keeping things at the front of my brain can be challenging. Here are some ways you can endear yourself to me and get a speedy and well-thought-out recommendation.

  1. Be getting (or have gotten) a B or better in my class(es).
  2. Introduce yourself to me early in the semester.
  3. Speak up in class regularly (especially if it’s a big class).
  4. Come to regular office hours (once or twice a semester, not every week).
  5. Come to informal office hours and help me get to know you.
  6. Have good attendance.
  7. I’m good at faces but I suck at names. I’m working on this, but regular contact with me helps.
  8. If I have agreed to write you a recommendation, it is your job to pester me until I get it done. I will not find this annoying, I will be grateful because I have to remember too many damn things at one time.
  9. Apropos of #8, don’t ask me to write you something at the last minute. 2 weeks advance is good, if not more. If you don’t have a choice, sit on me until I get it done.
  10. Send me a DIGITAL packet of your resume/cv, any major writing you did for my course, and anything you want me to highlight (but that has to be stuff I actually have experience of – don’t ask me to highlight your work in your sorority because I don’t have contact with you in that context).
  11. Figure out if I have to submit your recommendation through the mail or digitally. If it’s through the mail, give me an addressed envelope with a stamp. No, I’m not cheap, I just use stamps once a decade and don’t always have them around.
Student Expectations

Textbook Policy

I know textbook prices suck, so I try to use good textbooks with decent past editions.  Here is my policy:

  1. You can use older editions, but you are responsible for keeping track of the discrepancies. I’ll post chapter titles rather than numbers so you can follow along, but looking at the Amazon preview of the table of contents can help you figure out what you’re missing.
  2. Google Books often compiles all the “previews” across the web, giving you access to a good chunk of the book. This is another way to fill in the gaps.
  3. I choose books carefully, and I usually stick with the same edition for a while so you might be able to get it from former students. Comments are open on this page if you want to find someone to swap with. Many of my students take more than one of my classes and about half of them have textbooks, so this is a viable option.
  4. FYI, I don’t lecture to the book. I expect you to skim each assigned chapter, and then go back and read the stuff that’s interesting in depth.
Student Expectations

First Person and APA

Many of my students are taught that first person (I, me, mine, my) is not acceptable in academic writing. This actually depends very much on the discipline, method, and training of the individual academic. Here is what the Purdue OWL has to say about the first person:

When writing in APA Style, you can use the first person point of view when discussing your research steps (“I studied …”) and when referring to yourself and your co-authors (“We examined the literature …”). Use first person to discuss research steps rather than anthropomorphising the work. For example, a study cannot “control” or “interpret”; you and your co-authors, however, can. –

This is important. Do not avoid the first person at all costs, as it will distort your claims and make your writing muddy.

I add an additional wrinkle to this approach, as I come from a qualitative research academy. The first person is appropriate when you are communicating personal anecdotal information. For example:

“After having a personal experience with trolling on YouTube, I developed an interest in the psychological mechanisms that motivate online aggression.”

But not:

“After reviewing all the evidence, I strongly believe that trolling is a defensive behavior with mixed outcomes.”

The first example serves as an introduction to and disclosure of my (the researcher) personal interest in the topic. The second is inappropriate because 1) It is implicit that this is my belief, and 2) “I believe” weakens my closing statements, as I should have already built a strong argument for my position. A more effective statement: “Clearly aggressive online behavior is associated with defensive behavior.”

Writing in the first person is a useful way to identify your assumptions and biases about your topic. I sometimes recommend that students write a “profane” version of their paper before they write the formal version. It usually takes the form of an essay or free-write that can surface opinions, feelings, experiences, and any other existing information you have absorbed about your topic. This will help you 1) Identify what is particularly compelling to you about the topic, and 2) help you recognize any existing biases that may affect the quality of your research.

We are not bias-free; human rationality is largely illusionary. As researchers, we are ethically obligated to recognize our motivations, assumptions, and biases so our contributions to the larger body of knowledge have integrity. Judicious use of the first person can help.