On top of whatever else you might be, you are a professional student. As a professional student, your are expected to meet certain standards in your behavior. Your are expected to respect your classes, your instructors, your fellow students, and yourself. Below are specific ways that you can demonstrate, or fail to demonstrate, that respect.
Attendance & Tardiness
I expect you to come to all regularly scheduled class meetings. Obviously, circumstances might conspire to prevent you from attending some meetings. In those cases, I expect you to notify me as soon as possible and arrange to complete all in-class work.
Furthermore, I expect you to arrive on time for all regularly scheduled class meetings. If you know that you will be late for class on a particular day or that you will have to leave early, you should alert me as soon as possible.
Preparation for Class
I expect you to come prepared to participate in class. First, I expect you to have carefully read the assigned readings and completed any other assignments due that day. Complete those assignments in the fashion requested, e.g., type and print the assignment if you were asked to type and print the assignment. Second, I expect you to have paper on which to write and a pen or pencil with which to write. If you were asked to bring something to class, e.g., a printed reading, I expect you to bring that as well. Third, I expect you to be adequately rested and nourished. That you are tired or hungry is not a valid excuse for failure to participate in class.
First and foremost, I expect you to be polite in class. I expect you to not interrupt others while they are speaking and wait to be called on before speaking. I expect you to not use offensive language.
Since I expect you to take care of yourself, which includes getting enough rest and enough to eat, I expect you to not bring food to class (dry, inoffensive foods such as granola bars or trail mix are acceptable) and not use any tobacco products in class. Since you are expected to arrive adequately rested to class, I also expect you to not sleep or “rest your eyes” in class (blinking is acceptable).
I expect you to not leave your seat unnecessarily, e.g., to recycle a piece of paper. If your find it difficult to pay attention while seated, please talk to me and we can arrange some accommodation (I mean that; if you need to pace to pay attention, we can work that out).
I expect you to not talk unnecessarily to others in the classroom, even if it is for a clarification on something relating to the class; it can be very distracting for other students and for me.
I expect you to stay on task in class. This means that I expect you to not check your phones, to not do work for other courses, and to use your computers, if at all, only for things directly related to class.
If you are asked to complete an assignment in class, even if it will not be collected, I expect you to complete that assignment.
Communication with Your Instructor
I am happy to answer any questions related to the course. I encourage you to communicate with me, to come to my office hours, to arrange other meetings if those times don’t work for you. However, I also expect you to be respectful of our relationship.
This means that I expect you to try to find the answers to your questions yourself before asking me. Check with the syllabus, handouts, assignment instructions, readings, and other students before coming to me.
This also means that I expect you to keep your appointments; if we arrange to meet at a particular time, you will be there on time. I will do the same for you.
I also expect you to use appropriate language when communicating with me. Emails with no salutation, poor spelling and grammar, texting abbreviations, no subject line, or no subscription and signature tell me that you don’t respect me enough to take any care in your communications with me. For a sample of an appropriate email, click here.
This course, like all college courses, is not easy. You may struggle with it (in fact, I hope you do since that means you might be learning something from it). If you’re having trouble in the course, I’m happy to help you. However, I expect you to work to get yourself on track before you come to me. This means doing the readings in the way suggested, taking your time on assignments, following the suggestions for writing philosophy papers, arranging to meet with other students in the class to study, and getting enough sleep and maintaining proper nutrition.
In/Out of Class Ratio of Coursework
You should expect the following ratios of outside-the-classroom study time to in-the-classroom time:
A — 3:1
B — 2:1
C — 1:1
D — 0:1
If you want an A in the class, you should expect to have a three-to-one ratio of outside-the-classroom study time to in-the-classroom time. If this class meets for two and a half hours a week, you should expect to, and I will expect you to, put in seven and a half hours on this course outside of the classroom.
I recognize that this is a significant time commitment. If you’re taking four or more classes and all have the same time ratio expectations, then you’re expected to devote 40+ hours a week to your academics. This is consistent with your status as a professional student.
What you wear has an effect not just on how you are perceived by others but also on how you are perceived by yourself. There is some evidence to suggest that when one dresses in a fashion that is associated with the task at hand, one tends to perform better at that task (Adam and Galinsky 2012). Since your task in this class is not to sleep or engage in athletic activity, wearing clothes in which you might sleep or play sports may well have a detrimental effect on your performance in the class.
In any case, I would appreciate it if you would show that you respect the class by taking the time to dress appropriately. I am not talking about business wear (though I’m not opposed to it, either), but rather just not athletic shorts, sweat pants, pajama pants, muscle shirts, etc. I also ask that you not wear hats or sunglasses in class.
You will not lose class participation points if you show up in your sleepwear. This is merely a suggestion and a request.