English 4470
Contemporary Literature
Fall 2011
CRN 84767

Dr. Chip Rogers
Phone: 742-8957
Email: chip@chipspage.com
Website: www.chipspage.com

Office: Humanities/Social Sciences (H/SS) 133
Office phone: 757-2578
Office hours: MW, 10:00-11:00; TR 11:00-12:30,
and by appointment


As described in the MSC Catalog, English 4470 is "a study of American fiction and poetry since World War II as it relates to literary traditions and cultural movements." The course aims to expand and improve your abilities in reading and thinking critically and to develop your writing, research, and communication skills. While this class is not geared specifically for the education track of the English major, we will periodically discuss challenges and strategies in teaching various works as we proceed.


bulletAt least a "C" in English 3010.

bulletThe Ecco Anthology of Contemporary American Short Fiction.
bulletThe Norton Anthology of Modern and Contemporary Poetry, 3rd ed., Vol. 2.
bulletTwo novels yet to be determined.

Core Requirements

blue bulletDiligent, careful reading and participation in class discussion.  
blue bullet10 informal critical response writings (250 word minimum).
blue bulletMidterm and final exams.
blue bullet2 papers of 2400-3000 words (8-10 pages).
blue bulletCorrections of two graded critical responses and the first paper.


Each class is important, so it is crucial that you be in class on time every day. I record attendance daily, and absences do affect your grade. Students with more than four absences fail the class, regardless of the reasons for any of the absences—I make no distinction between "excused" and "unexcused" absences. I understand that "stuff happens," and not every student will be able to attend every class meeting. I will try to work with you on any major assignments you happen to miss (i.e. any assignments other than reading quizzes), especially when you notify me of the absence before missing class: feel free to call me at home or send email anytime you must miss class.

Late work: Late work is penalized one letter grade for each class day the assignment is late. Work turned in more than three class days late will receive no higher grade than F, and I accept no work more than two weeks late.

Bare minimum course requirements: Regardless of your overall grade average, to be eligible to pass the course you must turn in both formal papers, submit at least seven critical responses, complete corrections assignments for the first paper and two critical responses, and take both the midterm and final exams.

Plagiarism: Except for assignments expressly calling for collaborative effort, all written work must be your own. Any unacknowledged borrowing from the writings of others will be considered plagiarism, a serious breach of academic integrity. I will submit cases of plagiarism or other academic dishonesty for review by the Dean of Students. The penalty for plagiarism in this class is an "F" for the entire course, not just the assignment in question. For more on plagiarism, follow the "On Plagiarism" link on my website.  

MSC Academic Misconduct Statement: "As a Macon State College student and as a student in this class, you are responsible for reading, understanding, and abiding by the MSC Student Code of Conduct. The Student Code of Conduct is included in the MSC Student Handbook and is available online at http://www.maconstate.edu/studentlife/docs/studenthandbook.pdf."

MSC Policy on Disability Accommodations: Students seeking academic accommodations for a special need must contact the MSC Counseling Center (471-2985) located in the Learning Support Building, Room 110, on the Macon campus.

"Technical Policy" (re: plagiarism detection): "a plagiarism prevention service may be used in evaluation of written work submitted for this course. If directed by the instructor, students are expected to submit or have their assignments submitted through the service in order to meet requirements for this course. The papers may be retained by the service for the sole purpose of checking for plagiarized content in future student submissions."

Instruments of Evaluation
Class discussion: Most class periods will involve open discussion of the readings with relatively little lecture, so your participation in discussion is essential. I will call on reticent or "quiet" students, and class participation does factor into your semester grade.

Critical response writings: typed informal writings of at least 250 words responding to the readings before we discuss them in class. Note that each critical response assignment is valid for one class period only, and that critical responses are accepted only by the beginning of the period for which they are assigned. I will post critical response questions on the web and announce them in class the meeting before each reading assignment is due. Grades are recorded for only ten critical responses, meaning that you do not have to address every assigned topic, only a total of ten over the course of the semester. 

Exams: Both the midterm and final exams will consist of two parts: 1) "short answers," or brief paragraph-length commentary on the significance of specific passages from our readings, and 2) essays making connections in theme or technique between different writers or works. There will be one essay on the midterm and two on the final. You will have some choice in the short answer and essay portions of each exam: you might on the midterm, for instance, select 5 of 7 short answer questions and 1 of 3 essay options.

Papers: In two essays of 8-10 typed pages (2400 word minimum), you will explore in some depth a subject you choose from a list of paper topics I will post on the web. Papers must be carefully formatted and have sources documented according to MLA guidelines. You will submit a brief topic sentence outline well before each paper is due as indicated on our schedule of readings and assignments.

Corrections: For the first two critical responses and the first formal paper, after your work is graded you will 1) record all marked errors on corrections worksheets, and 2) hand in corrected drafts with all changes highlighted. Since corrections require a freshly printed draft after the paper has been graded, you should save all your work on disk to avoid having to retype entire drafts. For specifics, see corrections instructions

Conferences: Conferences are not mandatory, but I strongly recommend them if you struggle with any aspect of the readings and at any stage of the paper-writing process—exploring topics, drafting, revising, or editing. My typical aim in paper conferences is to head off potential problems in your essays and to offer helpful, critical response to your work before you submit it for grading.

"Rewrites": You may rewrite and resubmit either or both formal papers for re-grading. Rewrite grades replace original grades completely. Note that rewriting involves far more substantial revision than correcting grammatical errors: rewrites should also address larger problems in focus, structure, content, and style. The starting point for revision is my typed comments on your graded papers; rewrites should also address comments and questions written in the margins of the original graded papers. 


Most handouts and all out-of-class assignments will be posted on my website rather than being distributed as "hard copy" in class—you are responsible for printing and reading these web-page "handouts" before we discuss them in class. Most handouts are indicated as linked pages on the online schedule of readings and assignments. I may occasionally contact you through email also, and I encourage you to email me with questions on any course matters large or small.

Final grade breakdown

 Class participation
 Critical responses
 Critical response corrections
 Paper proposals
 Paper 1 
 Paper 2 
 Paper corrections
 Midterm exam
 Final exam

You should track your grades over the semester by keeping a "Scorecard." You can also track grades and find your cumulative average (overall course grade) by downloading and filling in the "grade calculator" for this class from my website. Feel free to email me any time throughout the semester to check your cumulative grade.

A note on note-taking: Although this course involves relatively little lecture, you will do well to take notes during every class period. "A" students typically take extensive notes, and it's certain that taking good notes will improve your grades on exams and papers. Even in class periods where your classmates do more talking than the professor, you should make note of any significant points made by anyone in the discussion. You would also do well to underline, highlight, or otherwise note all passages from the readings that we take special notice of in class, for I select short-answer quotations for exams mainly from those we've read or examined closely in discussion.

The Bottom Line: I hope every member of this class gets an A, and I will do all I can to make this happen. Don't get me wrongthe standards for "A" work are high, and I make no exceptions in course policies on absences, missed assignments, plagiarism, or late work. The number-one key to succeeding in this class is that you take responsibility for your own success, meaning that you attend to all assignments with your most careful and earnest diligence, that you respond positively to any setbacks and heed my feedback on all assignments, and that you seek my help as much and as often as you need it. I guarantee you have one of the most accessible professors at Macon State: ask for help outside of class, and I'll do my level best to deliver

Addenda to the syllabus:
bulletEnglish 2000-4000 Grades and Grading Criteria.

bulletEnglish 4470 schedule of readings and assignments.