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This course will analyze the image of women in literary works by female and/or male authors. The instructor will select one of several possible formats to follow, such as thematic (e.g. women as mothers, wives, mistresses, shrews, temptresses, and heroes). The class will discuss themes, characters, structure, imagery, and point of view, all in relation to women's roles. This course meets General Education Core Goal 7: Aesthetic Sensibility & the Arts; and Core Goal 12: Sensitivity to Global Perspectives and Cultural and Social Diversity.


Students may take this course after completing the composition requirement of their curriculum.


  • Discuss characteristics of literature that impact enjoyment of reading. (Core Goal 7.1)
  • Verbalize an increase in self-awareness, through a development of individual critical abilities. (Core Goal 7.2)
  • Discuss the relationship between the past and contemporary societal and cultural views in literature. (Core Goal 7.1 and 12.1)
  • Analyze models of literature for excellence. (Core Goal 7.1 and 7.2)
  • Examine the diverse role of women in literature, both as character and author. (Core Goal 7.1, 7.2 and 12.2)
  • Examine stereotypes of women and men in literature and life. (Core Goal 7.1 and 12.2)

My courses are designed to deal with adult issues often centering on controversial cultural and historical conflicts. At times, the class readings, lectures, and discussions may question ideas or beliefs that individual students hold dear. In addition, the language used in the course may range from highly technical jargon to the vernacular, including profanity. Students who wish to avoid such a classroom environment should seek another section of the course.
To structure the course, I have opted to use almost exclusively American women writers with a loose theme of "Declarations of Independence" as a guiding concept.


  • The Norton Anthology of Literature by Women 3rd Edition, Vols. A & B only
  • Post-It Brand book marking tabs
  • Access to the MLA Style Guide with the 2009 Update
  • Pen and paper for each class

English 255 will be one of the most challenging courses of your academic career because it moves quickly, requires a wide range of academic skills, and demands more time than the average course. In addition to an intensive reading load (with reading checks to document your marginalia), each student will write two major papers (a literary interpretation and a research paper), prepare two exam guides, take a mid-term and final exam, and use the discussion board extensively to post drafts and comments on readings. A breakdown of the assignments and relative point values is as follows:

Final drafts of papers

200 points


100 points

Quotation Assignments


Individual drafts of papers

0-20 points, depending on completeness

Required emails and posts

-5 points if not completed

Submitting final drafts to Turnitin.com

Zero on final draft if not done

Reading checks

5 points

Your grade is calculated by adding the total points earned and then dividing them by the total points possible. That average will then be plugged into the college's grading scale.

Numerical Grade 

Corresponding letter grade             

Percent Equivalent


















77.5- 79.49










Be advised that you must complete all major papers and exams in order to pass the course. Even if your paper is too late to be accepted under the late work policies, it must be completed by the end of the semester. If it is not, then you will automatically fail for the course, regardless of what your point total is.

When the final draft of a major paper is due, you will need to do the following:

  • Submit a copy to the dropbox on Blackboard for the paper. This file is what will actually be graded, so make sure it is the final version and not a prior draft. 
  • Post a copy to the discussion board in the "Final Draft" forum.
  • Submit the paper to Turnitin.com and get a receipt. Papers not submitted to Turnitin.com receive zeros.  See handout for log-in information.

In order to allow students to benefit from the three-step writing process and to turn in the best possible work for evaluation, students will be permitted to revise the first major paper in the course for an entirely new grade provided they meet the following criteria:

1) The assignment/essay must have been handed in on time and without plagiarism. Late or plagiarized papers are ineligible for revision.
2) Students desiring to complete a revision will meet with the instructor or a professional writing tutor at the Learning Assistance Lab. to discuss strategies for successful rewriting before attempting revision.

Note: The original, graded essay must be turned in with the revision. Just turning in a revision does not guarantee you will receive a higher grade. In the event that the revised draft grade is actually lower than the original assignment, you will receive the higher of the two grades; however, a higher revision grade always replaces the original grade, so if you are prepared to work hard, your grade will most likely benefit. See the class web page for more information on the major paper rewrite. Please see the class web page's assignments section for more explicit details.

All College policies must be followed and are a binding part of this syllabus The purpose of the Student Code of Conduct is to guide students to understand their responsibilities in regard to appropriate behavior and respect for others in the college community. The policy addresses classroom disruptions and removal from the classroom for behavioral issues.  It also provides the standards for ensuring the College provides due process to students through the judicial process. The policy and procedure is found at http://www.mc3.edu/about-us/policies/125

Plagiarism constitutes a serious breach of academic honesty and will not be tolerated. Unless I deem an act of plagiarism or cheating an honest mistake, I routinely assign students an "F" in the course for any act of academic dishonesty without the option of withdrawing from the course. Especially egregious acts will receive an "FX" with an additional notation of academic misconduct on the student's transcript. Please note that submitting work from another class as original work for this course constitutes academic dishonesty. For a full discussion of the Academic Honesty policies, please see http://www.mc3.edu/policy/aa/ethics.htm.
All students in my English courses will submit their papers to TurnItIn.com, a tool that checks your papers against other sources. You will have a chance to see your report and revise it before the final draft is due, should you choose.

Montgomery County Community College (MCCC) welcomes qualified students with disabilities and endorses the principles of nondiscrimination and reasonable accommodation as described in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (504) and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA). To see if you are eligible for services and reasonable accommodations in this course please review the policy on the Disabilities web site at http://www.mc3.edu/policy/sa/disable.htm.

Regular attendance and punctuality are expected. Students may miss four class meetings and remain in the course. The fifth absence will result in either a required withdrawal from the course (before the March 28, 2016,deadline) or an automatic F in the course (after the March 28, 2016,deadline for withdrawal without a signature).  At the start of the semester, each student will receive 12 points of extra credit for attendance.  Points lost for tardiness or absences will initially be taken from this pool of points, giving students the flexibility to miss two classes without injury to their grades.  Each absence will subtract five points from a student's total points scored for the semester. Each late arrival will subtract two points from the total points scored. A point will be awarded for each class attended. If a student knows he or she will miss a class, that student should alert Dr. Halbert beforehand. Under special circumstances (usually involving a documented medical emergency or a death in the family), you may request permission to remain enrolled in the course if your absences have exceeded four, but such circumstances are rare. Attendance will be taken by sign-in sheet at the start of class: students arriving after the sign-in sheet will be marked tardy. If you arrive late, please wait until the end of class to sign the sheet. Failure to sign the sheet at all constitutes an absence. Students who leave class early must ask for permission prior to the start of class; if you leave without permission before I dismisses the class, you will be marked absent for the whole period. Good manners suggest that if you know you will miss a class meeting, you will contact me and let me know.

In the event of inclement weather or other emergency, the MCCC School Closing Code is 320 for day classes and 2320 for evening classes. Announcements will be made on KYW (1060 AM) and other local stations. In the event that I have to cancel a class, I will email the class and post a message on Blackboard (assuming I have power at home to access the Internet).

Students are encouraged to consult with their instructor and/or an academic advisor when initiating a Course Withdrawal. The instructor's permission must be requested and received if requesting a withdrawal after 60% and before 75% of the course is completed. After 75% of the course is completed, students may apply for an Excused Withdrawal due to medical, catastrophic, or other circumstances beyond the student's control. Specific dates of deadlines for this semester can be found at http://www.mc3.edu/adm-fin-aid/deadlines

Should you wish to withdraw from the course, the deadline to withdraw without my signature is March 28, 2016. If you do not formally withdrawal, you will receive an F for the course even if you stop attending. After March 28, 2016, I will not sign any withdrawal requests unless you have a documented emergency. If I have not returned the first paper by this date, I will extend the deadline until one week after that paper is returned.

The absolute last day to get my signature is April 16, 2016.  After that, all requests to withdrawal must be made directly to the Dean of Arts and Humanities.

Applications for an "Incomplete" will only be entertained in cases of documented medical emergencies, incarceration, or military call-ups. Audits will not be permitted unless you start the course as an audit student and can convince me that you are willing to do all that work for no grade.

All work is due at the beginning of class on the day listed for the syllabus unless otherwise noted. I hate late work from students: it complicates my ability to grade or simply keep track of your work. More importantly, it devalues the efforts of your classmates who work very hard to meet their deadlines. To discourage late work, I have the following policy:

  • Final drafts of papers lose 25 points (out of the possible 200 points) for each 24-hour period they are late. This penalty includes Saturdays and Sundays.
  • Other late assignments have a 24-hour period to be submitted. They will be graded, and that grade will be divided by 2 and entered into the grade spreadsheet.

Late work will kill your grade, so don't do it. If you know ahead of time that you will not be able to complete a task, contact me for an extension. I reserve the right to make an exception to the late policy in the case of an extreme (and documentable) emergency, but that almost never happens.

Tutorial Services, located on the lower floor of College Hall in Room 180, has computers that students may use. In addition, help from professional tutors on papers for English and other courses is available every day of the week on a walk-in basis. I work there Monday and Tuesday afternoons, but any of the professional tutors should be able to help you. Use of the Tutorial Services is strongly encouraged: I've run centers like this, used centers like this, and I believe they are a valuable resource for both struggling and gifted writers because they provide a pair of professional eyes to review a paper and give writers the kind of feedback we all want.

In the interest of due process, the College provides an appeal process for a student who believes that a recorded final grade does not accurately reflect his/her academic performance in a course due to issuance of an arbitrary grade, inconsistent grading practice, or mechanical error. The policy and procedure is found at http://www.mc3.edu/about-us/policies/8581


  • Each student needs to email their required contact information to me from the account they prefer to receive email from.
  • Make sure your email address is professional.
  • I generally respond to email messages sent before 7PM within three hours Mondays through Thursdays (5PM on Fridays).  I do not check email after 7PM on weekdays.
  • While I will endeavor to check email on the weekends, I do not guarantee that I will be able to do so due to my personal schedule and family responsibilities.  Please send questions before 5PM on Fridays.
  • During the week of finals, you need to check your email every day to make sure there aren't any emergency questions from me that might affect your grade.

As adults, students and the instructor should know to do the following in class:

  • Be prepared for class with work completed and required materials available.
  • Refrain from non-class related conversations once class has started.
  • Keep cell phones and pagers in "silent" mode and refrain from answering them or using them to send text messages. Should a student expect an important call (because of family emergencies or issues of similar magnitude), please make the instructor aware of that possibility before class.
  • Inform the professor if you will be recording the class.
  • Treat each other with mutual respect: while we can challenge each other's ideas in class, personalized attacks or use of inappropriate language directed at another member of the class community is unacceptable.
  • Ask for help if you need it.
  • Make the most of this course. It will help in the future.

I enjoy teaching literature courses: I believe they can be the most empowering classes a person can take in college because the skills you learn can help you in virtually every part of your life. I took this job to help people discover their potential: as long as you are willing to do the work, I will do everything in my power to help you not only pass the course, but to be the best intellectual you can be.




Site URL: http://www.halhalbert.com/classes/spring2016/eng255
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Site published on January 20, 2016