American Ethnic Geography

A Cultural Geography of the United States and Canada

Course Policies

Basis of Grading

Your semester grade will be determined as follows:

These are the only grades you will receive, and there will be no extra credit.


You are expected to attend each and every class session. Because emergencies do come up, you will be allowed four absences for the semester (though you will still be responsible for the lectures you miss). With your fifth absence, however, provided it is unexcused, you will receive an F for the course.

Late Work

Late work will not be tolerated or accepted in this course. Instead, consider all written assignments due as of the first day of class. You may submit them for credit through the dates indicated on the schedule, but consider those dates to be deadlines. After those dates, I will not accept your work for any reason . . . even illness or excused absence. This syllabus contains all of the instructions for all of the assignments, and you must budget your time accordingly. You should plan on submitting your work at least a week before the dates shown on the schedule. That way, you can avoid missing the deadlines.


There will be 4 examinations during the semester, including 3 unit exams and a cumulative final exam. Each of the unit exams will consist of 3 sections--short answer, mapping, and essay. Short answer questions will include such items as definitions, identifications, listings, and brief explanations. Mapping questions will include items like ethnic areas, migration sources and destinations, and cultural boundaries. Essay questions will usually be comparative rather than merely descriptive. There will always be an option to select 1 of at least 2 possible essay topics.

The cumulative final exam will consist of 10 multiple choice questions, worth 10 points each. For each question, you will have the option to write a short explanation of the answer you select. If you select the correct multiple-choice response on a given question, you will get full credit regardless of what you may write by way of explanation. If you select an incorrect response from the choices provided, you can still get partial credit for your written rationale, provided you make a logical argument and give relevant examples. A superb written response may even get you full credit for the question.

Make up exams will only be allowed provided you obtain the prior approval of the instructor. After the fact, approval will only be granted for cases of extreme emergency, such as medical treatment. Missed exams must be made up within 1 week of the test day or a zero will be assessed for that test.

Authorized Aid and the Honor Code

The Honor Code will be upheld in this course. Authorized aid for this class is defined as your own personal knowledge on all exams and your own writing on the book review and essays. In other words, you are to do your own work at all times. Anything not listed here is considered unauthorized aid.

This does not mean, however, that you may not have help in editing your book review and essays. You are authorized and encouraged to take your written assignments to the Writing Center to be reviewed. You may also follow any of the suggestions you may get at the Center. You may even allow fellow classmates to review your writing and offer suggestions on ways to improve it. Just keep in mind at all times that the actual writing is to remain your own.

Incomplete Grade

If, as the semester ends, you have outstanding assignments or missed exams, do not assume that I will assign you an Incomplete for a grade. Since missed exams must be made up within one week of the original test date and since I will not accept late work under all but the most extreme circumstances, be aware that I will record these items as Fs in my grade book. If that lowers your final average to 59.5 or lower, you will receive an F for the course. If you feel an I is appropriate for this course due to an illness or extended emergency of some sort, you must speak to me about it personally and request the Incomplete by the time of the Final Exam on Tuesday, December 16.

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Created by JTK. Last revised August 27, 2008.