Responsibilities and Respect

Amir Hussain

Last Updated: August 31, 2010


In this course, as in this life, we all have responsibilities toward each other. I have found that my most successful classes are those in which we respect each other, and understand our mutual responsibilities. With that in mind, I offer my understanding of these responsibilities with the following assumptions. We will discuss them in the first week of class, and I hope that you will consult them throughout the course. Tina Pippin has articulated the following “manifesto” with her students, and it is with their words that I would like to begin:


Assumptions I Make About You

  1. You have made a conscious, informed choice to be a member of this class. This means that you have read the syllabus, and know the workload required. Be aware that on average, you should spend 3 hours on your own (reading, studying, making notes, working on assignments, etc.) for every hour that you are in class.

  2. You will give the basic respect that is due to me and the other students in this class.

  3. You will observe basic classroom decorum. In this class that means (but is not limited to!) the following: 1) You will turn off (or set to “silent” mode) any electronic devices such as watch alarms and cellular phones. You will not text in class. 2) If you come in late, leave early, or need to leave during the class, you will do so with a minimum of disruption. To do this, open the door slowly, and close it slowly behind you. Don’t make a lot of noise packing or unpacking your things. If you are coming in late, it’s a good idea to take off your coat and open your book bag/knapsack in the hallway. 3) You may eat or drink in the class, providing that you don’t disrupt the class (no “noisy” foods, and please clean up after yourself). 4) You won’t start to put away your things until the class is over. 5) You will not interrupt when someone else is speaking.

  4. You will do all of the required reading. This means that you will often have to read something more than once in order to fully understand it (remember the 3:1 ratio in the first assumption). You will attend class regularly and on time.

  5. You will be responsible for all of the material that we cover in class. If you miss a class, you will contact another student to find out what you missed.

  6. If you have a question, any question, you will ask it. You may ask during class, during my office hours, by telephone, or email.

  7. You will turn in your assignments on time. If you are unsure of the requirements for an assignment, or when it is due, you will ask me.

  8. You will improve your writing skills throughout this class. You will ask me for help, and also contact the Academic Resource Center at (310) 338-2847 if you need to.

  9. You will share your personality, knowledge, skills and special expertise with the rest of us throughout this semester.

Assumptions You Can Make About Me

  1. I will give you the respect that I ask you to give me and the other members of this class.

  2. I will begin and end the class on time. I will try to follow the schedule of lectures/lecture outlines as closely as possible.

  3. I will be available to help you, but you must let me know that you need help. I will be available during my scheduled office hours (and can often schedule appointments at other times), and will return phone calls and emails promptly. Please contact me when you first have a problem. If you wait until it is too late, then it is too late!

  4. If you do not turn in an assignment, I will not ask you for it. I will assume that you are content with a grade of zero for that assignment.

  5. I will grade fairly and responsibly, returning your assignments to you in a timely manner. I do not grade on a curve, and will grade each assignment on its own merit. Through the grading standards outline, I will let you know how I grade. I am willing to explain my grade to you, but if you request a grade change, you must be willing to explain to me (using the same outline) why you deserve another grade.

  6. I will follow and enforce the university policy on academic dishonesty, particularly with regards to cheating and plagiarism.

  7. I will be receptive to and encourage constructive comments about my teaching (as an example, “you’re ugly and your mother dresses you funny” is NOT a constructive comment...).

  8. I will do my best to help you, but I cannot learn the material for you.

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