Syllabus 2005
English 101: Composition and Rhetoric

Dr. Tina L. Hanlon

Associate Professor of English
Ferrum College

Dr. Hanlon's Schedule

Web Pages. Required pages for this course, including the schedule of assignments and readings, will be online at It is your responsibility to check these pages regularly for updates and new materials.

Goals of Course (See also the Ferrum College Foundation Standards)

  1. To help you master basic composition, editing and reading skills you will need for English 102, later writing intensive courses, other college courses, and your professional career. These skills include using strategies for developing and refining topics on a variety of public and private issues; writing clear, coherent multiparagraph essays that support a precise thesis using a variety of rhetorical methods; and practicing editing and proofreading techniques necessary to produce clear, error-free sentences in standard written English.

  2. To improve your confidence in your writing skills and help you feel comfortable with writing on a regular basis. Each student will come to the class with different strengths and weaknesses based on past experience and natural aptitude, but writing competently is a skill that you can all teach yourselves to master (like driving a car or cooking a meal) in order to function effectively in your personal and professional lives. Many of the assignments will allow you to use personal experiences as your examples.

  3. To improve your ability to evaluate critically ideas and written works, those of others as well as your own. Remember that we are evaluating pieces of work, not the individuals who produced that work, so comments on your writing and your comments on others’ work should not be taken personally.

  4. Several reading and writing assignments will require you to practice some of the additional skills that you will need in English 102, literature courses and many other courses and activities or jobs. These skills include summarizing and comparing reading selections, using examples from written sources to support your ideas, analyzing literature you have studied, and answering essay questions about material you have read and discussed in class. Detailed research papers will not be required in this class.

Texts and Supplies


Your final grade for the course will be determined according to the following percentages:

Progress in the second half of the semester, especially on the last out-of-class essay and the final exam, will be emphasized in determining the final essay average. Anyone not writing at least average college English (C-level) by the end of the semester must repeat the course before going on to English 102. Students who complete all course work but cannot improve their writing to the level required during the semester will be given a grade of “R” for this semester. This grade does not affect a student’s overall grade point average.

Sept. 23 is the last day to withdraw without penalty. Anyone who needs to withdraw from the course between Sept. 26 and Nov. 9 with a WP must be in good standing, with all course work completed to that date. Anyone who withdraws while not in good standing (with excessive absences, failing grades, incomplete assignments) will receive a grade of WF. Withdrawing after Nov. 9 will result in a grade of F. Withdrawals should be rare in this course since all students must pass English 101 and the R grade is available for those who need to repeat the course. See the college catalog for more information on grading and withdrawal policies. If an emergency arises (such as an extended medical problem), notify the professor as soon as possible to avoid extreme penalties.

You must proceed through the required essays according to the deadlines that will be posted on the online schedule. You may also write as many extra graded essays as you wish (after consulting with the professor on topics).

English Department Policy on Final Exam: The Department of English at Ferrum supports a policy of consistent grading standards. To insure that each student has reached a level of proficiency that prepares him or her to handle the challenges of English 102, each student in English 101 is required to pass the final examination essay, which will be reviewed by at least three professors—the student’s current teacher and two other professors who teach composition. The student’s professor will make the final course grade determination. It is possible, but rare, to fail the final exam and pass the course if you have done satisfactory work on other course requirements and demonstrated that you are usually capable of C-level writing. Most students who fail the final examination essay will receive a grade of “R” or “F” as determined by the quality of work completed during the semester and any other relevant course policies, including attendance.

Required Conferences

Your writing will often be evaluated in individual conferences with the professor, held in Britt 205, our classroom, or the ARC/Composition Center. When you bring the draft of a paper to a conference, I will evaluate it quickly by approving the following features of the paper in the order listed. If the beginning of the paper does not indicate a clear and acceptable topic, you will need to revise and bring it to another conference. If it has a good topic but not a unified, precise thesis, you will return after the thesis has been revised, and so on. If you have additional questions about that paper or anything else, have them ready to discuss when you come in for your conference, but I will not plan to discuss items farther down the list until requirements above them have been met. When all basic requirements have been fulfilled, we will discuss the paper's grade (A, B, or C) and, unless you want to further refine a B or C paper, I will record the grade as final.

    1. Topic
    2. Thesis
    3. Coherent organization
    4. Specific, clear details to support thesis
    5. Mechanics (use of standard English, format)
    6. Complete, accurate documentation (often not needed in English 101 essays)

Attendance and Classroom Requirements

Attendance at all classes is required and is necessary for satisfactory progress in the work of the course. Accumulating more than five unexcused absences will lower your final grade in the course by as much as one letter grade. Ferrum College policy mandates that anyone who misses one-fourth of the class meetings cannot receive credit for the course. If you are excused from a regular class meeting in order to attend an individual conference with the professor at another time, missing the conference will count as a regular class absence. It is your responsibility to inform the professor (preferably in advance) and arrange for make-up work if you have a legitimate reason for missing a class.

Actions that will not be tolerated in this class:

You are encouraged to participate in class discussion and ask questions at any time during class, but you are expected to respect the needs and rights of others by not distracting others in the class in any way. If you disrupt the class or distract the professor or other students you will be asked to leave the class and will be counted absent for that day.

Format for Written Work

  1. For the format of your graded essays, follow the guidelines in LBH, chap. 9, “Designing Documents," especially the advice for “most academic documents” on pp. 200-207.” Format for documentation is covered in LBH, Part X.

  2. Typing (double-spaced) is required on out-of-class essays. See LBH, chap. 8, for advice on writing with a word processor.

  3. All papers must have the pages stapled or clipped together. (Do this before final submission.) Don’t fold papers or put them in special binders. Label every assignment clearly with your name, the date, the professor’s name, and any other pertinent information (e.g., whether it is a revision).

  4. Remember that neatness and proofreading are essential on all papers. Typographical errors and illegible words count as mechanical errors.

Due Dates

All homework and essays are due at class time on the assigned day. Late papers will not receive full credit for the assignment. You must progress through the required essays according to deadlines that will be posted on the course schedule. You must complete all required essays by the last day of class and the final exam on Dec. 10 to pass the course.

Special Accommodations

Reasonable accommodations and auxiliary aids will be available for any qualified student with a disability in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). As early in the semester as possible, you are encouraged to notify the instructor and Ms. Nancy Beach, Director of Disability Services in ARC 111. Instructors are not allowed to discuss individual accommodations in public or ask individual students to make use of them. Qualified students may request these services and must follow the reasonable guidelines required by the school (such as arranging at least 48 hours in advance for any special accommodations for a scheduled test), or you will lose your right to take advantage of these services.

Honor Code (See also Ferrum College Student Handbook)

The Ferrum College Honor Code applies to all work submitted for credit in this course. Plagiarism or any other form of cheating on papers, reports, homework, or tests will result in severe penalties, which may include failure of the course. You are responsible for reading and understanding the Ferrum College Honor Policy and the section on plagiarism in the Little, Brown Handbook, pp. 680–89, and for avoiding the undocumented use of the words or ideas of others in your writing. If the professor has any questions about possible sources, inaccurate quoting, or inadequate documentation in a paper, it will not be graded until the questions are answered and/or the problem has been corrected. (At the end of the semester this may mean automatic failure if there is no time left for clarification or corrections.) Cases of academic dishonesty are reported to the College Honor Board.

It is very important that you understand the difference between acceptable and unacceptable help with your writing. Acceptable help includes getting a professor, a tutor, or another reliable reader to help you with brainstorming, outlining, suggesting revisions, learning to recognize proofreading errors, or typing a paper. It is unacceptable and unethical to get someone else to edit (i.e., correct errors) or write all or part of a paper, and to copy homework exercises from someone else. If you have any questions about documentation or help received, I would be glad to discuss it with you before an assignment is submitted. Obviously, it is to your advantage to ask questions early if you have doubts and to learn as much as you can by doing your own work.

Participation Grade

Your participation grade (20% of your final course grade) will be based on the quantity and regularity of your daily work in this course, and fulfillment of basic course requirements. (Other grades are based on the quality of work submitted). To receive an A for participation, fulfill all of requirements #1 to 4 below (#5 is optional). Minor lapses in one or two of these areas will not prevent you from receiving an A-, but your participation grade will be lowered by one letter grade for each area in which there is a major omission or failure to complete that requirement.

  1. Attend classes and conferences(no more than two recorded absences), behaving courteously in class at all times.
  2. Participate regularly and voluntarily in class discussion.
  3. Complete all homework and in-class exercises or quizzes on time.
  4. Submit all papers and revisions on time following Guidelines for Written Work above.
  5. Submit any informal writing you do on your own. This may take the form of a regular journal or notebook, samples of creative writing or miscellaneous writing of any kind. Writing a brief summary or response to a campus cultural event and writing answers to study questions on readings are possibilities for “extra credit” writing. See me for other suggestions.

ARC, Composition Center

The Academic Resources Center in the lower level of the library includes a composition center for students working on any writing project. The center is staffed by English faculty members in the afternoons and by student tutors at other times. You may drop by the center on your own for assistance with any aspect of your writing, or you may make an appointment with a student tutor. Other staff members in the ARC are available to help with a variety of student needs relating to reading, language skills, test-taking and other study skills. Your tuition and fees help pay for these services and students who succeed in college are often found in the library and ARC (good places to avoid temptations that may distract you from studying elsewhere).

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