ENGL 353 The History of Rhetoric

Course Description

The History of Rhetoric is designed to introduce students to the study of rhetoric from the clasiccal period until the end of the 19th century.

Course Policies

Any course syllabus is a contract between teacher and student. By continuing in this class, you are agreeing to be bound by the policies laid out on this page. Failure to read or understand these policies does not excuse you from being governed by them.

You Are Responsible For Your Success

It is not my job to remind you to submit late work, provide documentation for absences you believe are eligible to be excused, or apprise you of all course material or announcements you may have missed during any absence. It is your responsibility to:

  • keep track of any missing work or late work that you have,
  • to inform me of A&M-approved reasons to grant you an excused absence,
  • to learn of any course announcements or changes to the class schedule that you might have missed
  • to understand the material contained in this syllabus.

Ask fellow students or attend office hours if you need assistance in any of these respects. Furthermore, understand that late work is graded at my convenience.


I am available to answer email from 9:00am until 5:00pm Monday through Friday. Emails arriving outside of that time will be answered at my earliest convenience, but do not count on a quick answer to emails sent late at night or on the weekends.


Per university policy, I cannot discuss grades via email. Please drop by my office hours if you would like to discuss your grade on an assignment.

Grade Values

  • A 90-100
  • B 80-89
  • C 70-79
  • D 60-69
  • F 59 or less

Feedback and Assignment Points

Before each assignment, I will provide you with a copy of my grading rubric for the assignment to give you a sense of what I will be targeting in each assignment. This sheet will break down each component of your grade and add up to 100 points. I will read each assignment, mark up a rubric, and provide a few paragraphs of comments on your assignment.

These points will be weighted according to the point breakdown described on the Assignments page, which will determine your overall final grade.

Absence / Tardiness

Students are expected to attend all classes. Failure to do so, as part of a larger pattern of chronic tardiness and lateness, will result in consequences for your final grade.

Tardiness is defined as an arrival in class after the first five minutes of class. This behavior, while sometimes unavoidable, is disruptive. If you are running late, please do your best to enter the classroom quietly and find the first and most easily accessible seat available.

Excused Absences

Student Rule 7 covers the cases in which absences will be excused and in which late work will be tolerated. The following conditions will be excused:

  • Participation in an activity appearing on the university authorized activity list. (see List of Authorized and Sponsored Activities)
  • Death or major illness in a student’s immediate family. Immediate family may include: mother, father, sister, brother, grandparents, spouse, child, spouse’s child, spouse’s parents, spouse’s grandparents, stepmother, step-father, step-sister, step-brother, step-grandparents, grandchild, step-grandchild, legal guardian, and others as deemed appropriate by faculty member or student’s academic Dean or designee.
  • Illness of a dependent family member.
  • Participation in legal proceedings or administrative procedures that require a student’s presence.
  • Religious holy day. (See Appendix IV.)
  • Injury or Illness that is too severe or contagious for the student to attend class.
  • Required participation in military duties.
  • Mandatory admission interviews for professional or graduate school which cannot be rescheduled.
  • Mandatory participation as a student-athlete in NCAA-sanctioned competition.
  • In accordance with Title IX of the Educational Amendments of 1972, Texas A&M University shall treat pregnancy (childbirth, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy and recovery therefrom) and related conditions as a justification for an excused absence for so long a period of time as is deemed medically necessary by the student’s physician. Requests for excused absence related to pregnancy should be directed to the instructor; questions about Title IX should be directed to the University Title IX Coordinator.

Note About Excused Absences

In the event of a chronic illness or other sudden condition that will result in significant time away from class, please inform of the situation before you return to class, so that we can work out how to handle the situation before it becomes an issue.


In the 21st century, it is unreasonable to accept “my computer died” as an excuse for late work. If you are working on assignments on a computer, please back up your work offsite. Sites such as Dropbox and Google Drive provide space for storing copies of your work; even a USB drive can be enough. Save multiple times throughout each work session to both your backup and your computer’s copy. As a rule, I hold you accountable for making sure your technology is working correctly.

Late Work

Under Student Rule 7.4, I am under “under no obligation to provide an opportunity for the student to make up work missed because of an unexcused absence.” As such, late assignments will not be graded. However, if you are having problems with an assignment or there are extenuating circumstances not covered under the execused absence policy, email me 24 hours before the deadline of an assignment to discuss an extension.

Academic Integrity

Aggie Honor Code.An Aggie does not lie, cheat, or steal, or tolerate those who do.” It is the student’s responsibility to know the Aggie Honor Code and to understand what constitutes scholastic dishonesty and to avoid it all costs. Anything (particularly plagiarism and cheating on quizzes or projects) that appears to be a violation of the Aggie Honor Code will be reported to Dr. Christine Murray, Associate Director of Undergraduate Studies in English and the Aggie Honor System Office. For additional information please visit: http://aggiehonor.tamu.edu/.

Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Policy

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact Disability Services, currently located in the Disability Services building at the Student Services at White Creek complex on west campus or call 979-845-1637. For additional information, visit http://disability.tamu.edu.