The Center for Teaching and Learning

Syllabus Policy Blurbs

Here you will find examples of syllabus policy statements on a range of topics provided by Reed faculty. If you would like to contribute, please email

Academic Support

I encourage you to reach out to the Academic Support if you need extra help with study habits, note-taking, or time and stress management strategies that are essential to success in this course and college life. You may also want to take advantage of the free hour of tutoring available upon request. Contact David Gruber, Assistant Dean of Students for Academic Support (503.517.7722, or just go to the DoJo to access these resource. For more information, see:

The Writing Center offers free appointments and experienced peer tutors who are there to help you at any stage of the writing process. I strongly encourage even experienced writers to take advantage of these services. For more information, start here:


See sample statements from Disability & Accessibility Resources.

I encourage students who need accommodations in this course because of the impact of a learning difference to meet with me early in the semester. You should also contact the director of Disability & Accessibility Resources ( within the first two weeks of class to make arrangements for suitable accommodation.

If you are concerned that you will be unable to do the work of this course due to a chronic condition or disability (including post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD) and desire a reasonable accommodation, it is your responsibility to contact and register with Disability & Accessibility Resources and to provide them with documentation of your disability. They will discuss with me those reasonable and appropriate accommodations or services that can be given in the context of the goals that are intrinsic to this course, my pedagogy, and the area of campus in which we are meeting. To avoid any delay, you should contact Disability & Accessibility Resources as soon as possible.

Please note that accommodation is not retroactive, and that reasonable disability accommodation cannot be provided until I have received an accommodation letter from (and discussed your case with) the DAR office, who may be reached at (503) 517-7921 or

Students with special needs requiring modifications to class assignments (exams, quizzes, papers, etc.) need to speak to me within the first two weeks of the term and provide a letter of accommodation from the college. I cannot help you after an assignment has been collected! If your status changes across the term, notify me immediately.


There are no excused absences from class; every class meeting is an important and unique time for learning and exchange. If you have a good reason to miss class or come late, please tell me and I will propose a way of making up what you have missed. (If you do not have a good reason, you can tell me as well but I’m unlikely to grant you the opportunity to make it up.) If you miss more than three classes, you run the risk of failing the course.

This course requires continuous attendance and active engagement by class members to create a vibrant learning environment. Students are expected to take full responsibility for their own learning: read all assigned materials before the week those topics is assigned, complete assignments on time, and actively participate in class discussions. Students will automatically fail the course if their attendance falls below 80% of class meetings. Late students (10+ min) will be marked absent.

Attendance and participation: Attending and class participation are a component of each student’s evaluation. This means being on time, not leaving early, participating in class discussions, demonstrating that readings and assignments have been completed, and sharing relevant examples of course themes in class or by posting relevant articles and other resources on Moodle. Class participation provides the opportunity to practice speaking and persuasive skills, as well as the ability to listen. Comments that are vague, repetitive, unrelated to the current topic, disrespectful of others, or without sufficient foundation will be evaluated negatively. What matters is the quality of one’s contributions to the class discussion and not the number of times one speaks.

Absence from class will be marked as excused or unexcused. Absences will be excused only with advanced notice of family or personal medical emergencies, illness, and religious holidays. Unexcused absences will lower the participation component of your evaluation. Please use your name tent for every class. You must turn off all phones and electronic devices. Laptops and tablets are permitted only for note-taking; phones should not be used during class. Texting, emailing or other use of electronic devices for non-course purposes during class time will lower the participation component of your evaluation.

Basic Needs and Food Security

If you have difficulty affording groceries or accessing sufficient food to eat every day, or lack a safe and stable place to live at any point throughout our course, and you believe this may affect your performance in the course, I urge you to contact the Dean of Students for support. Furthermore, please notify as your instructor if you are comfortable in doing so. This will enable me to provide any resources that I may possess. I would also encourage you to make use of the Reed Community Pantry ( as you need.

Any student who has difficulty affording groceries or accessing sufficient food to eat every day, or who lacks a safe and stable place to live, and believes this may affect their performance in the course, is urged to contact the Dean of Students, Bruce Smith ( for support. Furthermore, please notify your instructor if you are comfortable in doing so; this notification will enable your instructor to brainstorm potential resources and options with you. If you’re struggling with housing or food issues, it can be difficult. As your professor, I’m here to help you succeed, and I want you to know that help is available. Please know that the Reed Community Pantry is open to all faculty, staff, and students who need it.


I will use email (often via Moodle) to post important announcements about the course. Please be sure to check your Reed email at least once a day so that you will see these messages. You can reach me via email for all sorts of questions, but I also strongly encourage you to come talk with me during office hours to discuss your work in progress (if you can’t make my posted office hours, just email me and suggest a few alternative times for an appointment). Doing political theory well is hard. If you find yourself frustrated or struggling, please don’t despair, and please don’t keep your struggles to yourself. A quick (or long) conversation can often be the best way out of a research quagmire, so please keep me informed of what you’re up to. (You are also welcome to drop by if you have made a particularly exciting discovery or lit upon an especially interesting idea that you just have to share with someone.)

COVID-related statements


When your health allows, you are expected to be present and engaged in class. At the same time, each community member has an individual responsibility to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus and other infectious diseases. Following public health guidance is part of living in an honorable community. 

The following recommendations should guide your decision about coming to class:

  • Self-isolation is the recommended course of action for anyone experiencing flu-like symptoms, whether due to possible coronavirus or to other illnesses.  Please stay at home if you feel sick, and contact the Health and Counseling Center (HCC) or your healthcare provider to discuss.
  • If you test positive for COVID-19, you should not attend class for five days.  Please contact the HCC and continue to isolate until you receive a negative antigen test, or until 10 days have passed since your positive test.  Find more information on Reed’s COVID policies here.
  • The CDC suggests that people with the following symptoms may have COVID: fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea.  As always, please consult a medical professional (members of the HCC or otherwise) if you have any questions about your health or health safety. 

If you need to miss a class, or series of classes, due to illness, self-isolation, and/or quarantine, you are responsible for emailing me to let me know as soon as possible. You are also responsible for coordinating with me to complete work that you might miss due to absences. I will always provide makeup options in cases of excused absence; this might include a written response, a Moodle post, or other check-in assignments. 

COVID PROTOCOLS (for classes that will require masks):  As a community of learners, we have obligations to protect one another’s health. Please wear your masks at all times in class.   If you have a medical issue that will make this challenging for you, please see me and/or Disability and Accessibility Resources to discuss accommodations.  It is also possible that we may have bigger disruptions due to COVID. We will navigate the situation together, and I promise to maintain open communication so that we all know what is going on.

COVID PROTOCOLS (for mask-optional classes): Masks are optional in this class, and I encourage everyone who prefers to wear a mask to do so. Please respect the choices of your classmates, even if they are different from your own. At any point in this semester, based on community health concerns, class preference,  and/or rising case numbers, we may change to requiring masks.  It is also possible that we may have bigger disruptions due to COVID. We will navigate the situation together, and I promise to maintain open communication so that we all know what is going on.


Extensions, Late Assignments, Incompletes

As a rule, I do not accept late assignments. Discipline can be useful. I hope to help you cultivate a certain amount of it. More importantly, the writing assignments for this course are carefully sequenced and our classroom discussions will often center on students’ written work. For this reason, late work is especially problematic. In the event of serious illness or emergency, please contact me as soon as possible to discuss options.

You are expected to turn in all assignments on time. I understand circumstances may come up that disallow you from turning in your work on time, or that you may choose not to do certain assignments; however, it is my expectation that you use this syllabus, which you have been provided ahead of time, to plan effectively so that you can complete all assignments and turn them in on time. If, for some reason, you are unable to turn in an assignment on time, you must meet with me to discuss why you did not turn in the assignment prior to the original deadline. Because every assignment is an important aspect of your learning in this class, we will discuss when you will turn in the assignment as well as decide upon an acceptable consequence for your turning it in late. If you neglect to meet with me to discuss your assignment being late and what you feel an acceptable consequence would be, your overall grade for the assignment will be reduced. Please note that turning in late assignments will have a negative impact on not only your learning, but also our learning community and your overall grade for the course. Furthermore, if you do not contact me to discuss your late/missing assignment(s), you should expect for this to have a negative effect on your overall grade for the course.

Because interpretation of the Faculty Code varies somewhat across the college, the following clarifications are offered:

An Incomplete [IN] is permitted in a course where the level of work done up to the point of the [IN] is passing, but not all the work of a course has been completed by the time of grade submission, for reasons of health or extreme emergency, and for no other reason. The decision whether or not to grant an IN in a course is within the purview of the faculty for that course.
(Reed College Faculty Code V.A)

I take this policy to restrict the grade of incomplete to acute, extreme emergencies and health crises that temporarily interrupt the work of a student who was previously making good progress in a course—crises that have a definite onset, are of relatively short duration, and are outside the control of the student. Incompletes will not be granted to students unable to complete the work of the course on time due to chronic medical conditions or ongoing situations in the student’s academic or non-academic life.


As everywhere at Reed, the Honor Principle is at work in this course. Discourse will be respectful and geared toward everyone's intellectual growth. Disruptive students will be cautioned by the instructor or asked to leave if necessary. All work submitted must be original work by the student/group and credit must be given to the work of others (see APA Writing Workshop). If you have questions about these policies, please do not hesitate to speak to me in or out of class. It is better to ask a question about academic honesty than to make a mistake.

I am committed to adhering to the standards regarding academic honesty contained in the honor principle and the values of mutual trust, concern, and respect for oneself and for others upon which the Reed community depends. In class, give your undivided attention to others. If you don’t agree with what someone else has to say, you are encouraged to express your point of view, but do so respectfully, and support your claims with textual evidence. In your written work, follow the conventions of appropriate citation for the humanities/social sciences. I do not care which method of citation you use (e.g. Chicago Manual of Style vs. the Modern Language Association (MLA) in-text citations), but I do require that you use one and use it consistently. Please consult with me if you have questions about proper citation.


Reed’s subject librarians ( can help you locate and access subject-specific resources for projects, classes, and thesis. Do not hesitate to turn to them!

Name and Pronouns

Class rosters and College data systems are provided to faculty with the student's name and pronouns. You are able to change how your name shows up on class rosters. This option is helpful for various student populations, including but not limited to: students who abbreviate their first name; students who use their middle name; international students; and trans students. As a faculty member, I am committed to using your name and pronouns. We will take time during our first class together to do introductions, at which point you can share with all members of our learning community what name and pronouns you use, as you are comfortable. Additionally, if these change at any point during the semester, please let me know and we can develop a plan to share this information with others in a way that is safe and comfortable for you. Should you want to update your preferred/proper name, you can do so by looking at the following guidelines and frequently asked questions:

It goes without saying that everyone in the classroom should be addressed by the pronouns and name they introduce. If someone (including the professor) does make an honest mistake with a name or with pronouns, please assume good will and offer any corrections politely.

In our discussions, we will refer to fictional characters by the same pronouns that are used within the texts themselves.

Participation and Discussion

Consistent and rigorous preparation for class activities as well as quality and appropriate contributions to class discussions are the most essential part for full realizing the promises of this course. Enrolling in this course signifies your agreement to contribute to the education of your fellow students and to learn from them and me.

Come to class prepared to discuss the reading critically, imaginatively and insightfully. Active participation in class discussion is essential. Contributing during class sessions provides an opportunity to practice speaking and the skills of persuasion, as well to listen to, critique, and develop the arguments and analyses of your peers. If speaking in class is a challenge for you, please let me know. We can work together to address the matter.
Your first task is read the materials with care. Many of our texts are dense and multi-layered. You may need to read them more than once. I have tried to limit the amount of reading accordingly but it is still significant. This means you’ll have to make (sensible) decisions about where to focus your attention. Typically, I will close each class with a few comments about the up-coming reading. Especially before you’ve developed your own strong path into the materials, this should help you find focus. (Keeps notes of what you think should be cut, kept and expanded!)
This course is structured to be largely discussion based. Due to this, we all— instructor and students— share in the responsibility of engaging with assigned texts as well as each other. The learning community we create as a class is greatly enhanced by everyone's active participation. This means you are expected to come to class ready to engage with your peers as well as the texts, assignments, myself, and any guest presenters we may invite to join our group. You are not required, nor encouraged, to make final pronouncements about the readings and discussions we have, but rather to use class as a forum for asking questions and developing deeper understandings of the issues raised throughout our shared time. Dissent within discussion is a part of the learning process—and it is especially important in a civil society for us to develop the skills necessary to speak across our differences in ways that foster understanding, justice, and dignity. You will be expected to engage with the course materials and with each other in a respectful and intellectually serious manner. However, there is no expectation that we will all agree with each other perfectly by the end of the day, or for that matter, at the end of the semester. Please note that the quality of your contributions is much more important than the quantity of your words. Listening attentively and responding thoughtfully to your peers is an important part of your contribution to the class.
This course takes as its highest principle the integrity of free intellectual inquiry. Criticism, exploration, and scrutiny of all topics and ideas are requirements for meaningful intellectual development. In this classroom, such criticism will be undertaken with the highest standards of intellectual integrity and respect for others in the class. Taking another person’s comments seriously enough to subject them to thoughtful critique should always be regarded as a sign of high intellectual respect for that person’s ideas. Respect, civility, and consideration should be given to each individual person in the classroom. Conference is a space where we will (and in fact must sometimes) make mistakes. Please be generous with yourself, with your classmates, and with me as we work through challenging material together; productive conversations are always based in language that is imperfect and wander through ideas that are not yet refined. It is of course always fair to ask people follow-up questions about points they’ve made, but please do so respectfully and generously (that is, extending to everyone the benefit of the doubt where appropriate). Everyone in the course is entitled to speak about any subject that comes before the class in discussion.
As stated above, class discussion is a central feature of this course and requires students to be proactive in their preparation. Active participation in class is defined as promoting a positive and safe learning environment through respectful discourse with students and the instructor about the topics at hand. As you will learn in this course, almost everyone has had some experience with psychopathology, some more closely than others. As such, class members should be sensitive to the differing experiences of their peers. To maintain appropriate boundaries in class, please do not disclose personal experiences with these disorders; questions/comments regarding symptom presentations or consequences should be phrased in general terms. You will be asked to provide written feedback to your peers on their class presentations. It is your responsibility to do so in a constructive and collegial manner.
A course of this nature will cover on a regular basis sensitive and difficult topics in both its reading and discussion material, including (but not limited to) scenes and discussions of eating and regurgitation, sex, masturbation, sexual violence, sadism and masochism, voyeurism, child molestation, animal abuse, anti-Semitism, racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, etc. All students who elect to take this course do so entirely at their own risk, and with the full knowledge that we will never censor reading materials, class discussions, or passages read out loud in class, and that all students will be held responsible for all the course readings and assignments.

I will not provide alternate readings and/or assignments; nor will I provide individual content warnings for specific readings. The only exception to this would be in special circumstances having to do with individual cases of PTSD that have been cleared both with me and with Reed’s Disability & Accessibility Resources beforehand.

Social Media and Technology

First, the easy stuff: Please turn off your cell phone, email, chat boxes, etc. during conference. Second, laptops: To facilitate open and direct discussion, laptop use should be kept to a minimum; if you are not typing your notes, your laptop should be closed or moved to the side so that it does not obstruct your view of other students. I consider inappropriate laptop use during class a violation of the Honor Code and will refer you accordingly.

Similar to when you are working with others on campus, it is painfully obvious to me as an instructor when someone is using their cell phone, laptop, tablet, or other technological gizmo for purposes unrelated to class. Not only does this negatively impact you and your learning, but it also has a negative impact on others in your learning community, who become distracted by what you are doing. As such, I encourage you to make wise choices about your (non-)use of technology during class. If it will be a distraction, and you know this, I encourage you to turn these devices off or not bring them to the classroom. However, if using these devices enhances your learning and the learning of others around you, then have at it. If I or others become concerned about what we perceive to be your misuse of technology in the classroom, I will have a conversation with you. If this becomes an ongoing event, you will be asked to leave class, with your leaving counting as an unexcused absence.