Contacting the Professor

The best way to reach me is via email:  mbnelson – at – wesleyan.edu

Please note that it is mbnelson… don’t leave out the “b”!

Office Phone: 860.685.3023

Office: PAC 417

Office Hours: Tuesdays, 10:30 am – 12 n or by appointment


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Class Protocol

  1. I reserve the right to make new rules and changes to the course at any time.
  2. Class will start on time. If you are more than 5 minutes late you will be marked as absent.
  3. No talking during class, no reading material during class, and no inappropriate use of electronic equipment (cell phones, laptops, etc.) during class.
  4. Diversity in discussion. Throughout the course of the semester, we will be addressing a variety of issues on which people will have strong and diverse opinions. It is critical that we respect one another’s thoughts, and address our comments at the ideas, not the person. Our class is not a forum for demeaning or threatening language
  5. Grading. If you have questions about a grade you received on an assignment, do the following.  First, wait two days. Second, write out an explanation for why you believe you deserved a different grade.  Finally, put that explanation in my mailbox or Email it to me.  I will respond promptly and meet with you about the assignment, if necessary.
  6. Academic Integrity.

    1. I assume all assignments and activities in the class are governed by the university’s honor code which I regard to be unnecessary to state (come on, this is common sense!), but which I will for legal reasons.
    2. Plagiarism and Cheating. Plagiarism and cheating will not be tolerated. I feel especially strong about this when it comes to student writing. Please note that the consequences for any kind of cheating or plagiarism can result in an “F” for the class and possibly other actions by the university.
    3. Wesleyan’s policies can be found online at: http://www.wesleyan.edu/studentaffairs/studenthandbook/standardsregulations/studentconduct.html
    4. If you have any questions about the appropriate way to use or cite a source, please do not hesitate to ask me before you hand in your paper.

Disability-Related Accommodations

It is the policy of Wesleyan University to provide reasonable accommodations to students with documented disabilities. Students, however, are responsible for registering with Disabilities Services, in addition to making requests know to me in a timely manner.If you require accommodations in this class, please make an appointment with me as soon as possible, so that appropriate arrangements can be made. The procedures for registering with Disabilities Services can be found at http://www.wesleyan.edu/studentaffairs/disabilities/index.html

Course Expectations

According to Wesleyan’s academic guidelines, each 1 credit course comes with an expectation of 120 – 160 hours of work over the course of the semester. That translates into approximately 12.3 hours per week of work per course (at the upper limit). For this course, the guidelines are as follows:

Activity Hours
Lectures 39
Group Presentation 10
Research Paper 40
Studying for Exams 10
Reading 58.5


Total 157.5

Note that the reading estimate here may be a bit high. However, if you spend that much time on reading, you will probably need less time spent on preparing for the exams. These also are guidelines for the average student. Some of you may take more or less time on any one of these activities. However, if you are taking significantly less time on these activities, then you should be aware that could ultimately affect your grade. A good rule of thumb is to spend approximately 12 hours each week on each class you take (including the time spent in lecture).

Late Policy

FYI, the following article now informs how I think about excuses for late work and rescheduled assignments: Sasha Obama’s Absence at President Obama’s Farewell Address Takes Over Social Media

1. When you are unable to complete an assignment as a result of a documented reason, such as a MAJOR illness or injury or a MAJOR family crisis, you should let me know as soon as possible and given an estimate of when you expect to complete the assignment. A grace period MAY be provided if it is seen to be reasonable.

2. Here are some examples of some (not all) of the excuses I will not accept:

a. Falling ill with a cold or flu is NOT a justifiable excuse.

b. Your computer crashing is NOT a justifiable excuse. (You really should be backing up your work on a regular basis!)

c. If your computer “corrupted” your file, I will suspect a scam (there is one out there!). So that is not a justifiable excuse.

d. Extracurricular activities are NOT the basis for a justifiable excuse.

3. A “late” assignment is defined as any assignment that is turned in AFTER the assigned due date and time. I provide a maximum 10 minute grace period. After that 10 minutes, the assignment will be regarded as 1 day late. 24 hours after that time, an assignment that is turned in will be deemed “2 days” late. And so on.

4. Any assignment can be turned in late, but there will be a penalty (unless point # 2, above, can be applied).

5. The standard penalty is this. Each day an assignment is late, I will take off 5 percentage points. Thus, an assignment graded at 87% (which is a B+), turned in 1 day late, will be graded at 82% (which is now a B-).

6. The most percentage points that I will deduct for being late is “50”. So no matter how late an assignment is, it will always be worth submitting.

7. If you have more than 2 major assignments due on the same day, I MAY consider allowing for an extension. Please notify me at least 2 weeks PRIOR to the due date.