My Teaching Philosophy


*    Many people throughout history have weighed in on what teaching and learning are all about, and I rather like Galileo=s perspective.To paraphrase and modernize him a bit, Galileo said: You cannot teach people anything; you can only help them to find things out for themselves.I believe that this is true.I will do my best to serve as a guide for students in the courses that they take with me.However, ultimately, I cannot control how well students learn; this decision is up to each individual student.The more students are dedicated to the process of learning, to coming to class and participating in our discussions, the more students are committed to reading and engaging in the material, the more they will learn; this I promise.Should anyone, in the process of learning, have questions or need help, I=m willing to help you in whatever way I can.See me inside or outside of class, ask questions, ask more questions, challenge my answers.Be an active participant in your own learning.This teaching philosophy results in my belief that whatever grade students receive in a course is the grade that they have earned; it is not the grade I have bestowed upon them.Students should be both proud of what they accomplish throughout this semester but also be able to accept responsibility for those times where they have not fully engaged in the process of learning.Both of these situations are learning processes as well.



My Grading Philosophy


*      It is also important for students to understand my grading practices, specifically with regard to papers, and my policy with regard to academic integrity. I strongly believe that paper grades should reflect both how well students address the content of the paper assignments and the quality of their writing.Thus, both content and style are graded equally.With regard to content, I will grade on the following aspects of studentsí writing: (a) Organization--is the paper well-organized given the nature of the assignment?Is there a thesis statement with adequate support throughout the paper?; (b) Logic/coherence--does the paper make sense logically?Does the writer address all relevant aspects of the assignment in a coherent manner?With regard to style, I grade on the following aspects of studentsí writing: (a) Spelling/punctuation--is the paper free from misspellings, typos, and punctuation errors?; (b) Fluency--does the writing flow well without awkward and incomplete sentences?Are verb tenses consistent throughout and do you keep parallel forms in your writing?; (c) Is your paper appropriately referenced (where applicable) using proper citation format?It is important to be an articulate writer as well as thinker in my opinion.If you canít express yourself well, it is hard to appreciate what it is you are saying.



Statement on Academic Integrity

*    In order to learn, you must engage in the process of learning.Thus, it is not only the outcome that matters, but what and how you=ve learned along the way.I recognize that there are pressures to have a good outcome, to do well, to get a good grade; and these pressures seemingly increase in college.Sometimes, these pressures can result in the temptation to bypass the process of learning to get the good grade; and, when this happens, plagiarism can result.


*    Plagiarism is a serious offense for many reasons.First, when you have used another=s work and represented it as your own, it is impossible for you to be evaluated on what you=ve learned.The product you turn in does not reflect your contribution to the process of learning in any way (and, in fact, you may have bypassed the process of learning altogether).Second, the principle of academic integrity holds that, ethically, one should not present another=s work as if it were one=s own as this is the equivalent of intellectual robbery.


*    Plagiarism will not be tolerated by myself or the other members of the Psychology Department.Students are sometimes unsure of what constitutes plagiarism. Therefore, to avoid any confusion, Iíd like to explicitly state what plagiarism entails.Please refer to this section as you write papers.The following are considered instances of plagiarism.


*    Any time one reproduces anotherís words or ideas without giving proper credit, this is plagiarism.Thus, even if one paraphrases the ideas of another author without using the authorís own words, that author must still be cited.


*    Citations are needed any time one makes a statement of fact which was discovered or reported by someone else and isnít common knowledge, even if this statement of fact is paraphrased from the author you read


*    If another authorís words are used verbatim, these must be in quotation marks and be properly cited.


*    Any time one presents an idea as an original idea which is not, this is plagiarism.Thus, ďborrowingĒ an idea from a classmate, representing an already existing theory or conceptualization as oneís own, or reproducing someone elseís paper or assignment and presenting it as oneís own are all examples of plagiarism.

*    The above examples are not exhaustive of the types of plagiarism which could occur but are the two most commonly seen illustrations. It is expected that students will display academic integrity when completing assignments. Thus, if students are unsure of whether something is or is not plagiarism, it is their responsibility to check an appropriate resource to determine this or come ask me. At the point of a working draft, I will not consider anything to be plagiarized; thus, you should not feel hesitant to ask me or show me examples of writing where you may have concerns about this while you are in the process of drafting your paper.It is only once you turn in a product that the criteria for plagiarism will apply.

*    Students who are found to have engaged in plagiarism will receive an AF@ for the paper in question.I will ask you to rewrite the paper to avoid getting an incomplete or an AF@ in the course (thus, you will still need to do the assignment, but you will not get credit for it).The purpose of the rewrite is so that you are forced to engage completely in the process of learning that was missed or partly bypassed through the act of plagiarism.Additionally, as per University policy, a report of the plagiarism will be made to the Dean=s office.


*    Please take the issue of plagiarism seriously.Although the temptation to get the good grade at all costs can be there for some students, the point of obtaining a liberal arts education is the education.The grades mean nothing if nothing was learned in the process of obtaining the grade.