The following are general course policies that apply to all PWR courses. However, because there may be some variation in the way instructors choose to implement them, it is your responsibility to consult your course syllabus and instructor about particular policies for your class.


Class size

Capped at just 19 students, First-Year Writing and Rhetoric is likely to be one of the smallest classes you take at CU. The PWR believes strongly that writing courses should be kept small so that students can work closely with their instructor and also with one another on their writing. PWR instructors are therefore asked not to over-enroll their courses. If you find yourself on a waitlist, you have several options: you can stay on the waitlist in hopes that an enrolled student drops the course during the drop/add period; you can stay on the waitlist in order to be eligible for course reservation the following semester (guidelines for course reservation are online); or you can look for a section with openings. Staff in the PWR main office can help you decide which is the best option.


You must attend your class regularly during the drop/add period. Any student who misses two classes during that period may be administratively dropped in order to make space for students on the waiting list. However, this process is not automatic, so if you decide you don’t want to take the class, it is your responsibility to drop it in order to avoid receiving an “F” for the course.

Attendence and Assignments


  • In a class as small as this one, your absence will be noticed. Other students depend on your feedback in class discussions and workshops. In short, your presence counts in this course. While any absence may affect your grade, most instructors designate a maximum number of classes you can miss before they officially begin deducting points from your final grade. Thus it is very important that you become familiar with your instructor’s particular guidelines and policies for attendance, and that you use your absences wisely, saving some for illness or an emergency late in the semester.
  • If you must miss a class, you are responsible for finding out what you missed and for keeping up with the assignments. If you know in advance that you will have to miss a class, it’s a good idea to let your instructor know ahead of time by e-mail or, better yet, by making an appointment with him or her. (E-mailing your instructor after the fact to ask, “What did I miss?” isn’t a good option. Your instructor doesn’t have the time to summarize an entire class period or workshop in an e-mail!)
  • If you need to be absent for a religious observance or for military obligations, you must give your instructor two weeks’ notice. In the case of a military obligation, you will need a note from an officer verifying the reason for your absence. You will also need to arrange in advance for any work that needs to be completed.


Individual instructors’ policies on lateness vary; check your course syllabus to find out what the policy is for your class. Generally, walking in late or leaving early displays disregard for the class. If you know that you will be late for a class or will have to leave early, let your instructor know ahead of time. Also, be aware that many instructors count late arrivals or early departures as absences. The same goes for turning work in late. Instructors are not required to accept late work; at the very least, most require that you make arrangements with them in advance.

Submitting Assignments

All work should be turned in during class time unless you have made other arrangements with your instructor in advance. In the event that you do need to turn in an assignment outside of regular class time, all PWR instructors have a mailbox in the lobby of the building where their office is located. Please note, however, that mailboxes are only accessible during regular business hours: Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–5 p.m.

Appealing a Grade

How to Proceed

If you have questions about the grade you receive on a particular assignment or for the course, the first step is to make an appointment with your instructor so that the two of you can discuss your concerns. If, after speaking with your instructor, you believe that the grade you have received is unfair given the assignment or course objectives, you may follow the PWR’s process for appealing a grade:

  • Step 1: You may submit a formal, written appeal to the PWR conflict resolution coordinator. (Please see contact information on page iii at the beginning of this book.) All appeals must be made within 45 days of the academic term in which the course was taken.
  • Step 2: If the conflict resolution coordinator deems a review appropriate, he or she will evaluate all relevant course information. It is your responsibility to provide the coordinator with copies of relevant documents (e.g., course policies, syllabus, assignments, clean copies of papers). The coordinator will then have two other PWR instructors independently read and evaluate the paper(s) in question.
    The conflict resolution coordinator will speak with you and your instructor about the outcome of the review. The instructor will take the review under advisement in deciding whether or not to change the grade.
  • Step three: If you are still not satisfied with the outcome of the appeals process, you may then take the matter to the director of the Program for Writing and Rhetoric, who, after reviewing the case, will make his or her recommendation to the instructor. Final authority for any grade rests with the instructor.

English as a Second Language (ESL)

The PWR dedicates certain sections of its lower and upper division courses for students whose native language is not English; these sections are distinguished by an 800 section number. These sections have the same goals as the standard sections but may address issues of particular concern to nonnative writers of English. If you are a nonnative writer of English, you may prefer to take these classes for a variety of reasons: You may wish to reinforce your understanding of American academic writing; you may want an opportunity to write and read about language differences; or you may feel the need for more formal attention to English grammar and style. If you’re unsure whether an 800 section is suitable for you, come by the PWR main office on the lower level of Environmental Design in room 1B60, or call the PWR office at 303-492-8188.

Special Accommodations

If you qualify for accommodations because of a disability, please submit to your instructor a letter from Disability Services in a timely manner so that your needs may be addressed. Disability Services determines accommodations based on documented disabilities (303-492-8671, Willard 322,


  • Plagiarism is the act of passing off another’s work as your own. Stealing, buying, or otherwise using someone else’s work, in whole or in part, constitutes plagiarism and is against university policy. Such behavior is taken seriously by the Honors Council, to which many such incidents are referred. Consult to learn more about the CU Honor Code.
  • Plagiarism does not always take such blatant forms, however. Of equal concern, especially in a course like this one where you will be encouraged to draw on others’ ideas in your own writing, are the more subtle forms of plagiarism. For example, you probably know that all words taken directly from a source need to be quoted and cited, and that there are specific conventions for doing this properly. However, you may not know that merely changing a few words in a passage—say, by using the thesaurus function on your word-processing program—does not protect you from the charge of plagiarism. Passages that are similar to their sources in syntax, organization, or wording but are not cited are considered to be plagiarized. In fact, even if you cite the source but do not make it clear to your readers that the phrasing of a passage is not your own, the source is still considered to be plagiarized.
    Any time you use another’s work—ideas, theories, statistics, graphs, photos, or facts that are not common knowledge—you must acknowledge the author.
  • Depending on the severity of the offense and on the instructor’s particular policy, the consequences for plagiarism vary, from having to rewrite a section of a paper to receiving a failing grade. Therefore, in addition to making sure you understand what constitutes an offense, it is important that you become familiar with your instructor’s policy.
  • We all build on each other’s ideas, making our own small contribution to the discussion. At the same time, we all like to see our ideas acknowledged. Acknowledging other people’s work can only enhance your reputation as a credible, thoughtful, honest writer. Although the ideas in your paper may come from others, the way you put them together and make sense of them will be uniquely your own.