Section Requirements and Guidelines

English 150
Professor Enda Duffy
Spring 2013
Lecture: Tu/Th 9:30–10:45, Girvetz 1004
Section 50849: W 5 p.m., HSSB 1236
Section 50856 : W 6 p.m., HSSB 2251

Teaching Assistant: Patrick Mooney

Office Hours: Tuesdays 11:30-12:30 and Wednesdays 3:30-4:30, or by appointment, in South Hall 2432E.
Mailbox: English Department mail room, South Hall 3421.
Voicemail: (805) 272-0069

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Course Requirements

Important Dates

Section Meetings

Discussion sections are an important part of the course. We will be reviewing major course topics and themes, looking closely at particular parts of the texts we are reading in class, and exploring additional related issues. At the same time, the course discussion section is your opportunity to explore additional implications of course readings or issues that you find interesting, problematic, fascinating, questionable, or unclear. You will find section more rewarding and enjoyable if you arrive prepared on Wednesday evenings and bring specific issues, interests, and questions with you. This course is a component of your education, and the discussion section meetings are a core opportunity for you to engage with the texts, with macro- and micro-level issues related to the course material, and with your peers and section leader. I expect that each of you will engage actively, vocally, and specifically with the material, with each other, and with me.

Attendance in section is necessary, and each absence is a missed opportunity in multiple ways: to engage with the material, to provide your peers with the benefit of your perspective and insights, to gain a deeper understanding of the course concerns, and (least importantly, in my opinion) to earn points for section participation. I do not distinguish between excused and unexcused absences, so if you miss section, be sure that you are missing section for a reason that you think is important enough that you are willing to give up points for that week. (If you have a genuinely extraordinary situation that results in multiple absences and is truly unavoidable, please see me: perhaps we can work something out.) If you miss more than three sections, you will receive no credit for section attendance and participation; if you miss more than five sections, you will automatically fail the course.

Simply showing up at section each week is not sufficient to earn participation points: please remember that this is a discussion section. Your participation grade is largely based on the degree to which you make meaningful contributions to the group discourse on a regular basis. Besides attendance, I have only three basic expectations related to discussion: that you contribute meaningfully to the group's discourse; that you arrive promptly in section prepared to discuss the readings in a nuanced and engaged manner; and that everyone in section treat each other respectfully during discussions, even (especially!) when disagreements arise.

Course Readings

You should always prepare for lecture by reading the assigned texts carefully and critically. This will help you to draw the full benefit out of lecture and section, and will help you make meaningful contributions in discussion. It is also a good way to stay prepared for the midterm and final exams, and to be ready to write your papers.

You should spend a substantial amount of time and attention on the assigned texts. Simply scanning texts quickly is not enough: you need to participate actively in the reading process, and to engage thoughtfully with what you are reading by looking up unfamiliar words (or words or phrases used in unfamiliar ways), interrogating your own understanding of the texts, and perhaps by doing background reading on aspects of Irish culture, history, and mythology that are relevant to the day's reading assignment. You are likely to find it helpful to read with a pen in your hand, and to use it to highlight/underline and make annotations as you read. (Students who read actively and who take a direct, personal interest in the texts are also very likely to score better on assignments and exams than students who simply move their eyes quickly over the printed words.) You are also likely to find that giving texts, especially short texts, multiple readings is worthwhile, because it will result in a deeper, richer understanding of them.

You should always have completed the assigned readings by the date indicated on the syllabus. You should always bring the week's readings with you to section and to lecture.

Paper Guidelines

Your paper is due according to the schedule on Professor Duffy's syllabus. Failure to turn in your paper on time will result in a reduction of ⅓ letter grade per day (e.g., an A- paper receives a B+ if turned in up to one day late) unless you have either made arrangements with me (at least 24 hours in advance) or have a genuinely serious and unavoidable emergency (family death, serious injury, natural disaster, etc.). If you turn in a late paper, you should put it in my box in the English Department's mail room (South Hall 3421) and must email me before 4 p.m. that day to be sure that I notice it and give you credit for turning it in on the proper day. If you must be absent from class on the day that your paper is due, you may leave your paper in my box before lecture begins.

Unless you have a genuinely extraordinary situation, I do not accept papers after the final exam — I also will not grant extensions beyond the final under ordinary circumstances. Note that failing to turn in an assignment within this time limit will result in an automatic failing grade for the course, as it is necessary to complete all course requirements in a timely fashion in order to pass.

Papers must be formatted according to the MLA standard. Among other things, this means that you should have a standard list of works cited and use standard citation methodology for phrases and ideas originating elsewhere, that you should use one-inch margins, that your paper should be double-spaced, that there should be no extra spacing between paragraphs or other layout elements, that you should use a standard 12-point font, etc. etc. etc. If your word processor does not conform to the MLA standard by default, it is your job to figure out how to override the defaults and produce an acceptably formatted paper. (Any college student taking a senior-level English course should be able to format a document in a word processor. This will be a useful job skill at some point for virtually everyone after graduation.) Any significant deviation from the MLA standard will negatively impact your paper grade. Moreover, you are expected to use the standard conventions of formal writing (including appropriate grammar, punctuation, and mechanics), and any substantial problems with these matters will also negatively impact your grade. If you have questions, please consult a writing handbook, or see me during my office hours. We will discuss expectations regarding papers at greater length before your paper is due.

Your paper grade is not based on whether or not you agree with me or with Professor Duffy. You are welcome to disagree in whole or part with the positions we take in lecture or section, in our office hours, or in other places, and this will not hurt your grade — what I expect from all students is that they will have a well thought-out argument that is closely tied to the text(s) with which they engage. Expressing a different opinion will not hurt you, provided that you can instantiate a logical reasoning process for that opinion, and provided that you can tie it closely to your textual materials. Contrapositively, agreeing with me or with Professor Duffy will not necessarily benefit you: I will still expect you to instantiate a logical argument that is closely tied to the text(s) (and that does not merely re-instantiate an argument from lecture or section — papers that merely agree with opinions that have already been expressed in the course are not A papers). I do not grade you on your politics, religion, or other opinions: I grade you on the construction of your argument and on your writing.

If you wish to dispute a grade you have received on a paper, you should provide a written statement indicating specific reasons why your grade should be different, and should take my comments on your paper into account. This statement should be delivered to me in person, dropped off in my box in English department mail room, or sent to me by email. You must also provide me with a copy of your paper that has my comments on it. We will then schedule an appointment to discuss your paper grade. I do not re-evaluate papers based on general claims such as I just think I did better. If, after we have discussed your grade, you still think that it is not a fair evaluation of the work that you have performed, you should then discuss the grade with Professor Duffy.

Contact and Communications Policy

I am available during and after section, after lecture (most days), and during my office hours. If you need to see me but cannot come into my office during office hours, let me know and we will arrange another time to meet. I take my pedagogical responsibilities seriously, and want to help each and every one of you to be successful. Although I am willing to answer quick and basic questions by email, substantial and/or complex discussions about course material are likely to be more beneficial to both of us if they occur in person instead of electronically. You should treat email as a method of contact for me that is appropriate for quick questions, administrative matters, and emergencies, not as a forum for substantial discussions about course material.

I try to respond to email in a timely fashion, although you should understand that it may take me a day or two during busy parts of the quarter to answer messages. Emailing me with an urgent question the night before a paper is due or a test is scheduled, therefore, is a bad idea. Please schedule your writing and studying so that any questions arise sufficiently far in advance of the due date that you are not left without feedback at the last minute. Please also note that my daytime responsibilities on campus may mean that I do not check my email during the last few hours before a paper is due or a test is scheduled.

It is your responsibility to ensure that you can receive email at your U-Mail address, and that you check your U-Mail address regularly. Although I do not often contact students by email (except to respond to emails that you send me), I may occasionally make general announcements in this way, or contact you personally about important issues. Emails that I or Professor Duffy send out are considered to be course material for which you are responsible to the same degree that you are responsible for reading the texts listed on the syllabus, and failure to notice an email, or having a full email box, does not exempt you from your responsibility to be aware of these announcements.

Please turn off your cell phone and any other electronic communications device(s) during lecture, section, and other course components. If you have a compelling reason for needing to be available in these ways during class (for instance, if you are an emergency responder, or you need to be available to your childcare provider during class in case of emergency), please set your device to vibrate instead of making an audible tone. If a legitimate need arises for you to take an emergency phone call during section or lecture, please leave the room to do so in order to minimize disruption to other students. You may not under any circumstances engage in any form of communication, electronic or otherwise, with anyone other than the professor or a course TA during tests; please ensure that you inform people who see you as an emergency contact that you are entirely unavailable for any reason during that time.

Plagiarism and Cheating

Anything and everything you turn in for class must represent your own original work. Although your research paper will almost certainly build on existing scholarship, you must always make it perfectly clear, using established academic practices, which words and ideas in your paper are yours and which originate elsewhere. Your ultimate guide to all questions about plagiarism should be the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, Seventh Edition, which has a fairly comprehensive discussion of the subject in section two.

If you have questions about plagiarism or how to properly attribute the language and ideas of others, please see me after class or section, or during my office hours.

Exams must be completed based on knowledge that you carry in your own head. You are not allowed to consult notes or course texts during exams, and must not look at anyone else's work during the course of the test. You may not use any form of communication device during an exam. It is your job to avoid even the appearance of cheating. Glancing at someone else's test during an exam — or at your cell phone — is cause for disciplinary action even if you do not use what you see in order to construct your answer.

Disability Accommodations

If you are a student with a disability and require special accommodations, please let me know as soon as possible, and apply for services with the Disabled Students Program ( I am not qualified to evaluate disability status and cannot provide any accommodations unless I hear from DSP.

Equal Access Statement

University policy and Federal and state law require that all students be provided fair and equal access to educational services, regardless of race, gender, religion, nationality, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or economic background. All students in this class are expected to treat each other with respect, and prejudicial or hate speech will not be tolerated. Professional speech and demeanor is expected from everyone in class at all times. Behavior and/or language that intimidate or negatively impact the attendance or performance of another student constitutes harassment and is unacceptable. This includes unwelcome sexual advances.

More broadly, we should be discussing texts and ideas, not attacking each other personally. Focusing on discussions of course material and related topics not only keeps us on task, but will ensure that everyone is able to participate effectively and gain as much as possible from the course.

If you have questions or concerns about university policies on equal access, please do not hesitate to contact me. If you do not feel comfortable speaking with me for any reason, you may contact UCSB's Title IX Compliance Office (, the Multicultural Center (, the Resource Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity (, or the Women's Center (

Other Resources

A collection of course materials can be found online at (or, if you're fond of additional typing, at This site will have electronic copies of all handouts that I distribute during class. There is also a Twitter stream for the course, accessible from the same location, providing reminders about upcoming events and additional course-related information.

In Conclusion…

I expect that you will put in the necessary work to be prepared for lecture and section, that you will engage with the course material, that you will turn in your work on time, and that you will treat everyone else in class with respect. I want everyone to benefit from and to succeed in this course, and would be happy to hear input from you about how I can help you to do so. If you have questions or concerns, please let me know in my office hours, after lecture, or by email.

I try very hard to be available to, supportive of, and understanding toward my students. If you are having difficulties with the course material, please come talk to me. If you have unusual, stressful, or bizarre things happen during the term that make it difficult for you to perform up to your potential in the course, please come talk to me. If you just can't seem to get started writing your paper, please come talk to me. If I can help you to be successful in any reasonable way, please let me know. If I'm not aware of what's going on in your life, however, it's difficult for me to assist you.

Policies are subject to change as the quarter progresses, and the most up-to-date copy of this handout is always available on the Web at (or, equivalently, at However, please bring your hard copy of these guidelines with you to each section so that you can keep notes on any changes that I may find it necessary to make.