Behave Professionally

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.

Classroom Behavior

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.

Due Diligence

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.

Adam, Hajo and Adam D. Galinsky. 2012. “Enclothed Cognition.” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 30: 1–8.

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