**This syllabus serves as the contract for the class; if you are enrolled in the course, then it is understood that you will comply with the criteria set forth on this syllabus, as will I. The guidelines, expectations, and grading criteria are clearly outlined here, and these will govern the structure of the class.  You should print off a copy of the calendar section of the syllabus and bring it to class with you every day, so that you may make note of any changes as they occur.


FALL 2013

ENGLISH 1101 – Composition I


Instructor: Ms. Mitzi McFarland

Office: Pafford 317

Office Phone: 678-839-4859 (available only during office hours)

Office Hours: M,W 12:30-1:30p.m., Fri. 9:30-3p.m., and by appointment

URL: http://www.westga.edu/~mmcfar



Course Description:

The primary purpose of this course is to help you develop confidence and expertise in writing clear, organized essays acceptable in both language and content to the university community. To facilitate this goal, the course follows three major units, which require you to fine-tune your writing skills to the shifting expectations of each section and their corresponding assignments. Click here for General and specific learning outcomes.


Required Texts and Materials:


Kenneth M. Gillam, editor. Money (Fountainhead Press V Series). 9-781-59871-480-7.

Elizabeth Losh, et. al. Understanding Rhetoric: A Graphic Guide to Writing (St. Martin’s). 978-1-4576-5187-8.

Dayton, Jonathan and Valerie Faris, directors. Little Miss Sunshine (20th Century Fox). ASIN: B000K7VHQE

Maimon, Elaine and Janice Peritz, editors. A Writer’s Resource, 3rd ed. (for reference). 978-0-077363581.


In addition to the course texts, please make sure you have or have access to the following items:

×          a flash drive or some other portable electronic storage (Note:  You are responsible for producing and retaining copies of your own graded and ungraded work.)

×          reliable access to a word processing program, preferably Microsoft Word

×          reliable internet access

×          reliable printer access

×          Email: Students must check myUWG accounts regularly and clean inboxes so that they can receive messages.


Course Requirements & Policies:


Attendance and Participation Requirements: This is a writing- and reading-intensive course. More than likely, it requires more advanced critical and analytical skills than those you have developed in high school literature and writing courses. Consequently, careful preparation and active participation are crucial to your success in this course. I expect you to be present and on time for all class meetings. Readings and homework exercises should be completed in advance of each class. You should be prepared to participate actively by volunteering to complete exercises OR by simply asking questions. Remember: if you do not understand something presented in class, ask!


Your regular participation in this class is a vital part of its success. Each student is allotted up to four absences—no more. Upon the student’s fifth absence, he or she will have two options: 1) withdraw from the class, which will generate a W if done before October 12—or a WF if after that deadline; or 2) remain on the role (still attending classes, if so desired) and receive an F for the course/semester. Therefore, if you suspect that outside responsibilities might cause you to miss more than four classes, then you should consider taking the course at another time. Note: The English Department draws no distinction between excused and unexcused absences. October 12 is the last day to withdraw from class with a W (without incurring a WF).


Other Important Attendance Points:


×          Tardies will also be counted as part of the attendance requirements. A student is considered tardy if he/she arrives to class after I do. Note: three tardies will equal one absence.

×          Sleeping or disruptive behavior at any time during the class period will be treated as an absence.

×          If you are going to be absent from class, understand that I do not allow students to make up unannounced quizzes under any circumstances. You are responsible for keeping up with all assignments, readings, and in-class work. I do not make lecture notes etc. available to students who missed class (so please get in touch with a fellow student)

×          Bring ALL required materials to class every day. It is the Instructor’s prerogative to dismiss students who come to class without the required materials. The attendance policy also applies with these kinds of dismissals.


Disruptive Behavior Policy: Students may be dismissed from any class meeting at which they exhibit behavior that disrupts the learning environment of others. Such behavior includes – but is not limited to – arriving late for class, allowing cell phones to ring, speaking disrespectfully to the instructor and/or to other students, checking email or surfing the web, and using personal audio or visual devices. Each dismissal of this kind will count as an absence and will be applied toward the attendance policy above.


Course Writing Component: Writing assignments will be generated by discussions from readings and from personal responses to literary works. Students will develop various essay types—text- and research-based—with practice also on the writing process and the realization that revision is an essential step. To assist these goals, we will commit ourselves to sharing works-in-progress in various workshops that endeavor to help you learn how to be (1) rigorous yet supportive readers of your peers’ work, and (2) more adept, nuanced, and sophisticated thinkers and writers.


Essay Format: ALL papers must be in accordance with MLA guidelines, typed and double-spaced. If you submit an essay that does not abide by the MLA guidelines, your grade for that assignment will automatically result in a 10-point deduction. Keep your Writer’s Resource handbook on hand where you can refer back to it when you need it.


Late and/or Make-Up Work Policy:


·All late essays will be penalized one letter grade per day late and are no longer accepted for a grade past one week of the deadline (unless you make arrangements with me in advance and you have a legitimate medical reason for submitting the work after the deadline). Essays are late when they are not submitted to me in hard copy form at the beginning of class.

·If you arrive to class late and miss a quiz, or if you miss a quiz or in-class assignment due to an absence, you may not make it up.


·I do not accept assignments sent to me via email unless approved by me in advance.


Email Policy: Be aware that an email asking questions about an essay cannot replace an actual meeting with me during office hours. It is very difficult to respond to your questions and your needs by only responding to an email, especially if your questions are general. I welcome any email correspondence you wish to have with me; however, this type of correspondence is best used only when you have a very specific question that doesn’t require discussion. Note: The official email communication method is through campus e-mail (MyUWG).


Disability Pledge:


·I pledge to do my best to work with the University to provide all students with equal access to my classes and materials, regardless of special needs, temporary or permanent disability, special needs related to pregnancy, etc.


·If you have any special learning needs, particularly (but not limited to) needs defined under the Americans with Disabilities Act, and require specific accommodations, please do not hesitate to make these known to me, either yourself or through Disability Services in 272 Parker Hall at (770) 839-6428.


·Students with documented special needs may expect accommodation in relation to classroom accessibility, modification of testing, special test administration, etc. This is not only my personal commitment: it is your right, and it is the law!


·For more information, please contact Disability Services at the State University of West Georgia.


Resources for Writing Instruction: 1) I will gladly assist you in the writing process and with any concerns you may have in the course; 2) The Writer’s Resource; 3) my online website, A Writer’s Archive; 4) the Writing Center, located in the Parkman Room, TLC 1200, is a student support centre designed to offer consultation in which tutors question, respond to, offer choices, and encourage revision in student essays. Tutors do not evaluate or prescribe solutions to problematic areas in student essays, and tutors are specifically trained to avoid appropriating the student’s work. For more information on appointments, hours, and policies, visit the Writing Center online at http://www.westga.edu/~writing.


Plagiarism and Academic Honesty: All work you turn in for this class (from quizzes, writing prompts, to out-of-class essays) must be your own original work, with all outside reference sources properly cited and acknowledged. The English Department, in adherence with the University’s code for academic honesty, defines plagiarism as “using the words and/or ideas of another without properly giving credit to the source(s)” (http://www.westga.edu/~engdept/Plagiarism/pladef.html) and offers the following descriptive list: submission of material that is wholly or substantially identical to that created or published by another person or persons, without adequate credit notations indicating authorship; “false” attempts at paraphrasing and/or documentation (as in making up sources); substitution for, or unauthorized collaboration with, another individual (excessive collaboration is considered plagiarism). Note well: unintentional plagiarism is plagiarism nonetheless.


This is a no-tolerance policy, not open to negotiation. If caught and substantiated, plagiarism results in an F for the course and will be reported to the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs for possible probation or suspension from the University. Click here for the University’s policies for handling Plagiarism and Academic Dishonesty: Faculty Handbook, sections 207 and 208.0401 (http://www.westga.edu/~vpaa/handrev/); Student Undergraduate Catalog, “Academic Honor Code”: (http://www.westga.edu/undergrad/1762.htm). See also the Preventing Plagiarism link in my website’s “A Writer’s Archive.”


Course Assessment & Guidelines:

Your final grade will be determined as follows:

Participation, Quizzes                                     12%

Process Work                                                   8%
In-class essay                                                   10%

*Out of class essays:                                        65%

 *essay #1 (3 full pages): 15%; essay #2 (3 full pages): 25%; essay #3 (4-5 pages): 30%         

All out-of-class essays will be graded according to the department’s shared grading rubrics for ENGL 1101. We will discuss the grading rubric in class prior to the due date for each essay so that you will be familiar with the criteria. All out-of-class essays must be typed and formatted according to MLA style guidelines.(See AWR 29 for more details regarding the proper format for your essays.) The following chart will be used when calculating your numerical grade at the end of the semester with regard to letter grades received on out-of-class essays:


A+=98 A=95 A-=92

B+=88 B=85 B-=82

C+=78 C=75 C-=72

D+=68 D=65 D-=62



(***At times, I will “split” grades to indicate work that falls between two standard grading categories. For example, a student might receive an A-/B+, which translates mathematically to a 90.)


Note: In order to complete all English 1101 requirements, students must pass with the final letter grade of a C or higher. The last day to withdraw with a W is Friday, October 18. Make this decision wisely.


Questions or Concerns:


I am here to make sure you receive a quality education. If ever you have a question, comment, or concern regarding your success in my class, please feel free to use any of the following options:


·Call and leave a message for me at the office: 678-839-4859

·Send me an email: mmcfar@westga.edu

·Call the English Department’s main office to schedule a conference with me: 678-839-6512.


Please understand that the life of a teacher can sometimes be hectic. Therefore, allow me at least 24 hours to return your email or voicemail. If you do not get a response, please do not give up. Feel free to try back at a later time.