The Course Syllabus
All Language 120 teachers will develop a syllabus for their classes. Syllabi can be made electronically available to the students and to the administrative assistant, Dawn McCann, at the beginning of the semester. The syllabus must include:
Course name, section number, instructor’s name, office number, office hours, and contact information; Course description and Student Learning Outcomes for both Language 120 and Information Literacy Intensive courses;
A schedule with readings, conferences, and essay due dates;
Formatting requirements and other specific expectations;
Grading scale and method of determining final grades;
Policy on late work: Instructors do not have to accept late work, but the syllabus should include an explicit statement of the instructor’s stance and what the consequences will be;
Attendance policy: Instructors are encouraged to use the departmental policy detailed at right;
Specific policies for disability accommodation and inclement weather should be included. A link to department policies is at right, under Department Policies "For Students;"
A statement that the department’s grading policy requires students to earn a C- or better to pass Language 120. A link to detailed descriptions of general grading guidelines can be found at right;
The department policy on plagiarism follows. The policy should not only be included on the syllabus but discussed in class.
- The Department of Literature and Language considers plagiarism a grave breach of intellectual integrity. Instructors in the department have the authority to give students a failing grade for the course because of a single instance of plagiarism or other form of cheating. In order to avoid confusion, the UNC Asheville Department of Literature and Language defines plagiarism in this widely accepted fashion: Plagiarism involves the appropriation and use of someone else's ideas or words as one's own. All definitions, terminology, concepts, and patterns of organization taken from an outside source must be identified and documented in any essay or exam students write--whether it be for this department or any other. In identifying such sources, they should follow current MLA guidelines. Facts of general knowledge (such as the place and date of an author's birth, honors granted during his or her lifetime, the titles and dates of published works, etc.) need not be documented. However, facts which are not in the area of general knowledge must be credited to the source. Ideas, interpretations, terms, and patterns of organization taken from an outside source may be either directly quoted (in which case the exact words should be placed in quotation marks) or paraphrased. Paraphrase is recommended whenever possible in order to avoid a disproportionate amount of direct quotation in the paper. In either case--whether with quoting or paraphrasing--credit must be given to the source. A good definition of paraphrase is found in the Practical English Handbook: "To paraphrase is to express the sense of a passage entirely in [the student's] own words, selecting and summarizing only information and ideas that will be useful [. . . .] It is the recording of relevant information in the student's own words. It extracts items of information instead of merely recasting the entire passage and line of thought in different words." The key to avoiding plagiarism is to remember that students are responsible for giving credit to the source of any idea, phrase, term, definition, or pattern of organization they use in their own work.
In accordance with UNC Asheville procedure, faculty members who encounter an incident of plagiarism in their class should do the following:
- Confer with the student about the plagiarized work. The student will receive the grade of F for the particular work attempted in which plagiarism or cheating is involved.
- Report the incident to the Department Chair
- Submit a brief statement of the incident to the Provost with a copy to the student. The Provost then determines whether any other punishment should be taken. Additional penalties that may be imposed at the Provost’s discretion include cancellation of scholarships, suspension, and expulsion.
Instructors should not assume that students know what plagiarism is or what the consequences are. Class time should be devoted to defining and discussing plagiarism, including the UNC Asheville Student Handbook policy on Academic Honesty. Student writers should be given the tools to recognize and avoid plagiarism and to know its consequences. Group practice with summary, paraphrase, and documentation, with additional feedback coaching in conferences as needed, can help eliminate unintentional plagiarism.
Exercises helpful in identifying plagiaristic use of an author’s work are available at
When instructors design distinctive assignments, original work is more likely to result. Essays should be thoughtful and include evidence of the writers’ process: brainstorming, drafting, and revision.