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Introduction to Writing



You will receive an attendance grade for your participation in group and individual writing activities that are part of almost every class. By not showing up (or not showing up on time), you deprive yourself of valuable class discussion, just as you deprive your fellow students of your own insights—the centerpiece of our collaborative enterprise a.k.a. as teaching and learning. So, it's quite simple: Be there in body and mind! — You will be allowed three (= 3) "freebies," which are intended to cover such emergencies as the day you were sick, going hunting, gambling in Las Vegas, or flying on the Space Shuttle . . . . You get the drift.... If you have more than three absences---regardless of reason---you jeopardize your good standing in the class and thus your final grade.

You will be given 4 larger essay assignments over the course of the semester (3-5 pages). Each of these assignments will routinely consist of notebook entries, class discussion, (several) workshops, a first draft, and a second (perhaps even a third) draft. One of the most important insights I would like you to gain from this class is that every essay is, in a sense, only a draft, an incomplete and unfinished piece of writing, regardless of its erudition and elegance. The idea that an essay is "complete and perfect" is only an illusion. For that reason, and to encourage you to revise (= "re-visit") your writing, you may rewrite (we call it, rewrite "substantially" or "globally") your essays as the semester progresses or as it draws to a close. At the end of the semester, you can then hand in a sampling of the best of your revised work as a portfolio for an additional, final evaluation. (An assignment not handed in is naturally excluded from this option). I will share with you some of the specifics later. Your final grade will be made up of the following components and their percentages:

Four essay assignments (10% each) 40 %
Notebook and in-class writing assignments 20 %
Class and workshop participation and attendance 20 %
End-of-semester portfolio and final exam 20 %


  • Laptops and notebooks are part of classroom resources, but I expect you to use them judiciously. That means you are focused on class learning, not checking email, surfing, gaming, etc. during class. I reserve the right to ask a student to switch off a laptop/notebook if I feel it is not used appropriately. I do not allow the use of cell phones or handheld devices in class and, in the event of non-compliance, will ask you to leave class for the remaining period. Please turn off your phone during the class hour. Thank you.


  • Plagiarism is a violation of the WSU Student Code. To plagiarize means to pass off someone else’s work as your own or to improperly or insufficiently document your sources. If you plagiarize, you will receive an E for the assignment. If it happens again, you will fail the class, and I will notify university authorities about disciplinary action.
  • WSU subscribes to, an electronic service that verifies the originality of student work. Enrollment in this course may require you to submit some or all of your assignments to, and documents submitted to are retained, anonymously, in their databases. Enrollment in this course constitutes an understanding of an agreement with this policy.

Disability Accommodation

  • PPM 3-34 notes: “When students seek accommodation in a regularly scheduled course, they have the responsibility to make such requests at the Center for Students with Disabilities (SSD, #181 of Student Services Center) before the beginning of the semester in which the accommodation is being requested. When a student fails to make such arrangements, interim accommodations can be made by the instructor, pending the determination of the request for a permanent accommodation." Such accommodations include reading services, provisions in case of mobility impairment, sign language and interpretive assistance, and closed captions for the hearing impaired, among others.

Emergency Closure

  • In the unlikely event of an extended campus closure, we will conduct our course electronically via email and virtual discussion groups. In this case, please make sure that you check your email account regularly for messages and attachments (in Word, PowerPoint, or audio) coming from me and/or your fellow seminar participants. Such messages may function as lecture substitutes, provide directions for reading and writing assignments, and contain other relevant information. Also, make sure that your account has adequate storage capacity for transmitting documents. Please let me know by the end of the first week of the semester if you do not have access to a computer and/or the Internet from your home. Thanks.

Core Beliefs

  • According to PPM 6-22 IV, students are to “determine, before the last day to drop courses without penalty, when course requirements conflict with a student's core beliefs. If there is such a conflict, the student should consider dropping the class. A student who finds this solution impracticable may request a resolution from the instructor. This policy does not oblige the instructor to grant the request, except in those cases when a denial would be arbitrary and capricious or illegal. This request must be made to the instructor in writing and the student must deliver a copy of the request to the office of the department head. The student's request must articulate the burden the requirement would place on the student's beliefs."


  • If you prefer an alternate name or gender pronoun, please advise me of your preference and I will happily honor your request.

Recycling Policy

  • Weber State University is dedicated to being a leader in sustainability to ensure present needs are met without compromising the ability for future generations to inherit a healthy planet, society, and economy. Part of this commitment includes sustainable waste management practices with the ultimate goal of becoming a zero-waste campus. In order to achieve this goal, it is up to the WSU community to be informed about the various recycling policies on campus.
  • Please recycle following items on campus: plastics #1 & #2 (rinsed), cardboard, non-glossy paper, & metal cans.
  • *Please look at plastic identification symbol on the bottom of plastic bottles & jugs before recycling.
  • For more information on recycling at WSU, please reference Energy & Sustainability Office website

The Golden Rules


  • Assignments must be typewritten and are due on the date specified—no exceptions.
  • No electronic submissions, and no cell phones, iPods, blueteeth, and other "electronic devices" (the airline phrase) in class.
  • For reasons of class integrity, and out of consideration to others, do not come late or leave early. For the same reason, I will not be able to accept late work.
  • Bottom line (repeat): Be there in body and mind!

Let's Connect!

mwutz@weber.eduPhone  801-626-7011
Skype  michaelwutz007

LebenslaufCurriculum Vitae
Weber – The Contemporary West
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Mailing Address


Michael Wutz, Brady Presidential Distinguished Professor
Editor, Weber - The Contemporary West
Department of English, 1404 University Circle
Weber State University
Ogden, UT 84404-1404 USA