Policies and Guidelines

Professor Mark Sample
Chambers 3286
Office Hours: 1:30-2:30pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays


There are five required books for the “Monsters” section of WRI 101:

  • Tananarive Due, The Good House, Washington Square Press, 2004
  • Colson Whitehead, Zone One, Anchor, 2012
  • Stephen Graham Jones, Mongrels, William Morrow, 2017
  • Emil Ferris, My Favorite Thing Is Monsters, Fantagraphics, 2017
  • Gerald Graff and Cathy Birkenstein, “They Say, I Say”: The Moves that Matter in Academic Writing, Norton, 4th edition, 2016

In addition, there will be various journal articles, book chapters, and online material to read throughout the semester. I strongly urge you either to print out the material or to use a PDF application to take notes on the digital version of the material. You are required to bring the day’s reading to class with you.

Be forewarned that we are reading novels about monsters. MONSTERS. Some of the material may offend or disturb you, including explicit language, representations of violence and abuse, and sexual assault. Current research suggests that the effects of triggering material may be mitigated if you are mentally prepared for such encounters and have practiced coping strategies.


The required work for WRI 101 takes several forms:

  1.  Blogging. Students will set up their own blogs and post routinely throughout the semester in a series of rounds. Blogging will be worth 15% of your final grade.
  2. Five Writing Projects. Throughout the semester you will have five writing projects of varying lengths. A full writing project involves research, drafting, peer review, and revisions. The writing projects will be be worth 75% of your final grade.
  3. Engagement. Engagement refers to your involvement in the course, both in and outside of the classroom. Factors include preparation, participation, focus, use of office hours, and so on. Engagement will be worth 10% of your final grade.
Key Dates

Writing Project 1 on “The Meaning of Monsters”

  • Assigned Monday, August 27
  • Due Monday, September 3
  • Revision due Wednesday, December 5

Writing Project 2 on The Good House

  • Assigned Friday, September 7
  • Draft due Friday, September 21
  • Due Saturday, September 29

Writing Project 3 on Zone One

  • Assigned Wednesday, September 26
  • Draft due Wednesday, October 3
  • Due Friday, October 13

Writing Project 4 on Mongrels

  • Assigned Wednesday, October 17
  • Draft due Wednesday, October 24
  • Due Friday, November 2

Writing Project 5 on My Favorite Thing Is Monsters

  • Assigned Monday, November 5
  • Draft due Wednesday, November 14
  • Due Wednesday, November 28

When it comes to assigning final grades, I convert between letter grades and percentages using this formula:

A = 95% /A- = 91%
B+ = 88% / B = 85% / B- = 81%
C+ = 78% / C = 75% / C- = 71%
D+ = 68% / D = 65% / F = below 61%


Your continual engagement with the readings, writing, and your peers is essential to the success of Writing 101. Daily attendance is required.

If any assignment deadline or class day conflicts with your religious holidays, let me know in advance; religious observance warrants an extension or legitimately excused absence.

I understand that you may have to miss class due to an illness or emergency. Therefore you may miss 2 classes without lowering your grade, no questions asked. Except in the case of verifiable hardship or religious observance, each absence after 3 lowers your engagement grade an entire letter grade. If you do miss class, it is your responsibility to get the notes and make up work.

Late Work Policy

Due dates are listed on the calendar. Work handed in after these deadlines will be considered late and marked down a letter grade for each day late. Extensions must be approved a week in advance.

Inclusive learning

I am committed to the principle of inclusive learning. This means that our classroom, our virtual spaces, our practices, and our interactions be as inclusive as possible. Mutual respect, civility, and the ability to listen and observe others carefully are crucial to inclusive learning.

The college welcomes requests for accommodations related to disability and will grant those that are determined to be reasonable and maintain the integrity of a program or curriculum. To make such a request or to begin a conversation about a possible request, please contact the Office of Academic Access and Disability Resources, which is located in the Center for Teaching and Learning in the E.H. Little Library: Beth Bleil, Director, bebleil@davidson.edu, 704-894-2129; or Alysen Beaty, Assistant Director, albeaty@davidson.edu, 704-894-2939. It is best to submit accommodation requests within the drop/add period; however, requests can be made at any time in the semester. Please keep in mind that accommodations are not retroactive.

Academic Integrity

Students at Davidson College abide by an Honor Code. The principle of academic integrity is taken very seriously and violations are treated gravely. What does academic integrity mean in this course? Essentially this: when you are responsible for a task, you will perform that task. When you rely on someone else’s work in an aspect of the performance of that task, you will give full credit in the proper, accepted form.

Another aspect of academic integrity is the free play of ideas. Vigorous discussion and debate are encouraged in this course, with the firm expectation that all aspects of the class will be conducted with civility and respect for differing ideas, perspectives, and traditions. When in doubt (of any kind) please ask for guidance and clarification.

Classroom Courtesy

While this course embraces the digital world it also recognizes that digital tools and environments complicate personal interactions. Studies have shown that students who use laptops in class often receive lower grades than those who don’t. Even more worrisome are studies that show laptop users distract students around them. I permit laptops and tablets in class, but only when used for classroom activities, such as note-taking or class readings. Occasionally I may ask students to turn off all digital devices.

Text messaging or other cell phone use is unacceptable. Any student whose phone rings during class or who texts in class will be responsible for kicking off the next class day’s discussion.

Late arrivals or early departures from class are disruptive and should be avoided.

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