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Degree Programs

Course Policies

In order to support the best learning and teaching conditions, the University Writing Program has adopted a minimal number of policies that govern all of its courses. Individual faculty members may revise these policies for tone, style, and degree of explanation, and some policies provide a range of supported options. Any revisions or specifications shall appear on the syllabus for a particular section of the class. However, all modifications shall be consistent with the program-wide policies. Alternatively, a syllabus may simply inform students that "The University Writing Program course policies pertain to this class," and direct students to this web page.

Anderson Academic Commons

Student Engagement and Participation

The Writing Program expects students to be active and engaged learners, including through collaboration, and practicing a commitment to the material, their own writing processes, and to their peers. In a writing class engagement is visible in a number of ways, including participation in classroom discussion, online discussions, and other conferences and discussions outside the classroom, peer review feedback, group project contributions, and general efforts to improve not only one's own learning but the learning of the entire class.

In courses that evaluate student engagement as part of their grade, instructors will articulate those criteria that are relevant. Ascertaining the level of engagement is up to the instructor, but example guidelines follow:

"Average" engagement means that the student seems prepared, although he or she sometimes needs to be prompted to participate, and he or she is engaged with the work occasionally but infrequently. Generally, participation in discussion, online comments, and feedback on writing seem to encourage and support others in the class. However, even if the student generally remains silent, he or she is prepared and engaged. The student's presence is productive

"Superior" engagement means that the student is always prepared, often adding additional insights to a class or online discussion, providing extensive feedback to writing, or doing additional work on group projects. Consistent, judicious, and empathetic engagement with the material and his or her peers and instructor demonstrate superior and active learning. This engagement may manifest in several consistently good comments or comments that bring in productive perspectives and outside sources in class discussion, or it may be insightful and extensive commentary in peer review. Students who take steps outside of the common classroom space to build a better learning environment demonstrate superior engagement.

"Weak" engagement means that the student comes to class but that either he or she does not seem prepared or that his or her presence detracts from the quality of class experience for others. In other words, in whatever fashion, the student consistently (sometimes deliberately, sometimes not) disengages from classroom activities and discussion, perhaps to others' detriment. For example, this disengagement may take the form of sleeping, chatting with other classmates in a stream not related to the class activity, reading other materials, talking on a cell phone, messaging or other social networking activities, or browsing/surfing/engaging online when that is not the designed class activity.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

The Writing Program will provide reasonable accommodations to every student who has a disability that has been documented by The University of Denver Disability Services Program (303-871-2372).


Because interaction with other students and the professor is a vital part of learning to write, the Writing Program expects students to attend every class meeting, scheduled conference, and online activity. Any absence will affect the student's performance and multiple absences (except those affiliated with official university events) are likely to have a dramatic negative effect on both learning and the student's grade. In the event of excessive absences (20% of class meetings or more), students should consider dropping the course and re-enrolling in a quarter during which they can devote the required effort. If an instructor determines that excessive absences have prevented a student from meeting the goals of the course, the student may fail. Students who miss class are personally responsible for learning about any missed material or assignments, either from classmates or from the course website. (See also "Late work.") Within the spirit of these guidelines, individual faculty members may articulate specific attendance policies.

Late Work

Assignments are due when they are due. Late work will be accepted only at the discretion of the instructor, and work based on in-class participation cannot be made up. The Writing Program will support the following range of options concerning late work: 1) lowered grades, 2) delayed instructor evaluation or response, or 3) no credit.

Civility and Tolerance

The Writing Program affirms DU's Code of Student Conduct, which in part "expects students to recognize the strength of personal differences while respecting institutional values." Because writing courses rely heavily on interactions among individuals, students and teachers must act in a manner respectful of different positions and perspectives. While civility and tolerance are vital in and of themselves, working productively with others, furthermore is an important rhetorical skill. Therefore the Writing Program will act to reduce behaviors that may compromise productive learning environments. These actions may range from informal conversations, to formal communications, to request action by the Office of Citizenship and Community Standards.

By definition, all of education depends on encountering new ideas and information. Some of these may conflict with individual's existing knowledge or perspectives. The Writing Program expects students to engage such materials thoughtfully, in ways that reflect the values and mission of the University of Denver.

Students must respect the classroom environment. In class, all cell phones and electronic devices shall be turned off. Unless specifically directed by the instructor, students shall refrain from sending email and instant messages, or from engaging in other activities (reading non-course materials, engaging in private conversations and so on) that disrespect the classroom environment and learning conditions for others.


The Writing Program follows the Council of Writing Program Administrators policy "Defining and Avoiding Plagiarism," which states, "In an instructional setting, plagiarism occurs when a writer deliberately uses someone else's language, ideas, or other original (not common-knowledge) material without acknowledging its source."  DU's Honor Code also maintains that all members of the University must responsibly use the work of others. Students who have plagiarized a project will receive an F on that project, and the instructor will inform the Director of Writing and the Office of Community and Citizenship Standards, which may take further action. Any documented acts of plagiarism after the first may be subject to more severe actions.