Policies and Assignments


Major Assignments

RCL II has four major units: Articulating Beliefs, Deliberating, Persuading & Advocating, and Presenting YourselfAll major assignments within each unit must be completed in order to pass this class. Specific details on the assignments will be available on this course website and discussed in class. Please note that, though RCL II sections are rather standardized, your instructor has the discretion to offer some adjustments to the course schedule and assignments as she sees fit.


Early in the semester, students will start up two distinct blog categories–the Passion Blog and Civic Issues Blog. You will also keep your Rhetoric and Civic Life Blog from last semester for your other course-related and “in progress” assignments. These blogs will be devoted to RCL and will be distinct from any other blogs you keep on this site or elsewhere. Blogs from this particular section of RCL will be aggregated so that you, your classmates, and your instructor may easily find and read one another’s posts. Civic Issue posts will be due by 5pm on Wednesdays. All other responses and blogs will be due each Friday by 8am. Blogs posted after these times will not be recognized for credit. Students will be placed in blog groups, and members of these blog groups will be responsible for engaging one another’s entries with comments. Students will be able to revise and select entries for inclusion in final e-portfolios in RCL II. For more specific information on blogging in RCL II, consult “Blogging Assignment” under the “Assignments” tab on this course website.


Participation in this class is strongly encouraged, which is why it counts for 10% of the final grade (see below). Participation has several dimensions, not the least of which is presence in class. This doesn’t simply mean bodily presence (this is covered in the attendance policy below), but actual attunement to the class discussion. Engaged, vocal contributions (questions, discussion points, etc.) and online posting and commenting are considered central to the success of the class. Also valuable is recognizing when it’s time for other students to contribute. There will be opportunities to contribute in small-group discussion. All in-class activities represent opportunities to work out ideas.


While it is best not to miss class, you are permitted three absences without a grade penalty. Each absence in excess of three will result in a one percent deduction off your final grade (independent of grades received on course work).  Three late arrivals will equal one absence. Please note that absences are counted as excused or unexcused. Exceptions for extraordinary circumstances are managed differently, but using your three absences should be done wisely as they will count as part of excused absences. Students will bring the reading material to class on the day it is assigned or risk being counted absent for that day. Students who come to class without having completed the assigned reading or writing may be counted absent as well.

Office Hour Visits

Please note my office hours. Please plan ahead. I’m there for you and want to help, but a lack of foresight is not an okay reason to miss office hours for the week and/or to ask me to figure out another time.

Grading breakdown

Unit Five: This I Believe Podcast 10%

Unit Six: Deliberation  20%

Unit Seven: Persuasion and Advocacy 30%

  • Issue Brief 15%
  • Advocacy Project 15%

Unit Eight: E-Portfolio  10%

Civic Issue Blogs 12.5%

Passion Blog 7.5%

Participation and Attendance 10%

Written Assignment Guidelines

  • Assignments will be collected at the beginning of class they day that they are due. Barring legitimate emergencies, even if you are absent on the day that an assignment is due it is your responsibility to submit the assignment to me via email on time. If you are late to class and miss submission of your assignment with the rest of the class, it will be counted as late with a penalty of a loss of a letter grade.
  • Late work will be penalized at the rate of one letter grade per day, and only if prior arrangements have been made with the instructor.  Late work for which no such arrangements have been made will not be accepted for a grade (but must be turned in, nonetheless). Likewise, if you miss your presentation slot, you will will receive a zero for the assignment (but must still complete it).
  • All assignments should be typed using a standard font, such as Times New Roman.  Please use one-inch margins and a font size between 11-12 point. Handwritten work is never accepted.
  • Staple all work that is more than one page.  (No paper clips or folding over, please.)
  • Carefully proofread all assignments before submitting.

Grading Scale

Please note that this is the standard grading scale offered by the College of Liberal Arts. Given the exact range of grades, students should not expect “rounding up.”

A 95 to 100
A- 90 to 94.99
B+ 87.9 to 89.99
B 83.3 to 87.89
B- 80 to 83.29
C+ 75 to 79.99
C 70 to 74.99
D 60 to 69.99
F 59.99 and below


Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is the pursuit of scholarly activity in an open, honest and responsible manner. Academic integrity is a basic guiding principle for all academic activity at The Pennsylvania State University, and all members of the University community are expected to act in accordance with this principle. Consistent with this expectation, the University’s Code of Conduct states that all students should act with personal integrity, respect other students’ dignity, rights and property, and help create and maintain an environment in which all can succeed through the fruits of their efforts.

Academic integrity includes a commitment by all members of the University community not to engage in or tolerate acts of falsification, misrepresentation or deception. Such acts of dishonesty violate the fundamental ethical principles of the University community and compromise the worth of work completed by others.


Accessibility: Disability Accommodation

Penn State welcomes students with disabilities into the University’s educational programs. Every Penn State campus has an office for students with disabilities. The Student Disability Resources Web site provides contact information for every Penn State campus (http://equity.psu.edu/student-disability-resources/campus-contacts). For further information, please visit the Student Disability Resources website at http://equity.psu.edu/student-disability-resources.

In order to receive consideration for reasonable accommodations, you must contact the appropriate disability services office at the campus where you are officially enrolled, participate in an intake interview, and provide documentation (equity.psu.edu/student-disability-resources/applying-for-services). If the documentation supports your request for reasonable accommodations, your campus’s disability services office will provide you with an accommodation letter. Please share this letter with your instructors and discuss the accommodations with them as early in your courses as possible. You must follow this process for every semester that you request accommodations.


Education Equity: Bias Reporting

Penn State takes great pride to foster a diverse and inclusive environment for students, faculty, and staff. Acts of intolerance, discrimination, or harassment due to age, ancestry, color, disability, gender, gender identity, national origin, race, religious belief, sexual orientation, or veteran status are not tolerated and can be reported through Educational Equity via the Report Bias webpage (equity.psu.edu/reportbias/).


Standards of Classroom Behavior

Classroom behavior should always reflect the essential Penn State values of civility, integrity, and respect for the dignity and rights of others. As such, the classroom space should be safe, orderly, and positive—free from disruptions, disorderly conduct, and harassment as defined in the University Code of Conduct (http://studentaffairs.psu.edu/conduct/codeofconduct/). The University Code of Conduct defines disruption “as an action or combination of actions by one or more individuals that unreasonably interferes with, hinders, obstructs, or prevents the operation of the University or infringes on the rights of others to freely participate in its programs and services;” disorderly conduct includes but is not limited to “creating unreasonable noise; pushing and shoving; creating a physically hazardous or physically offensive condition;” and harassment may include “directing physical or verbal conduct at an individual…; subjecting a person or group of persons to unwanted physical contact or threat of such; or engaging in a course of conduct, including following the person without proper authority (e.g., stalking), under circumstances which would cause a reasonable person to fear for his or her safety or the safety of others or to suffer emotional distress” (Section IV, B). The course instructor has the authority to request that any disruptive students leave the class for the class period. If disruptive behavior continues in subsequent class periods, a complaint may be filed with the Office of Student Conduct, which may result in the student being dismissed from class until University procedures have been completed. Any student with concerns or questions as to this policy should contact the Director of the Program in Writing and Rhetoric.



The University is committed to equal access to programs, facilities, admission and employment for all persons. It is the policy of the University to maintain an environment free of harassment and free of discrimination against any person because of age, race, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, creed, service in the uniformed services (as defined in state and federal law), veteran status, sex, sexual orientation, marital or family status, pregnancy, pregnancy-related conditions, physical or mental disability, gender, perceived gender, gender identity, genetic information or political ideas. Discriminatory conduct and harassment, as well as sexual misconduct and relationship violence, violates the dignity of individuals, impedes the realization of the University’s educational mission, and will not be tolerated. Direct all inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policy to the Affirmative Action Office, 328 Boucke Building.



Undergraduate Speaking Center: The Undergraduate Speaking Center, located in 7C Sparks, provides excellent one-on-one peer mentoring to support any phase of your presentation/speech development. See its website for more information: http://speakingcenter.la.psu.edu/.


Mobile Devices and Computer Access

On Fridays, please bring your laptop to class. Otherwise, unless you have a specific reason for taking notes on a laptop or similar device (which you must talk to me about), these devices are not allowed to be out during class except to look at online readings as we talk about them. Please also silence and put away your mobile devices before entering class. Invest in a good notebook and a pen that is a pleasure to write with.