Frequently Asked Questions
How do I know what is legitimate borrowing from a source and what is plagiarism?
The Department of Rhetoric and Composition teaches what does and does not constitute plagiarism in its courses. Therefore, students should know how to make this distinction. If a student is still uncertain after classroom instruction and after reading provided class materials on the subject, then the student is encouraged to meet with their instructor and/or visit the writing center.
How will the instructor know if I have copied my paper from the Internet, had the paper written by a professional writing service, or tried some other tricky thing?
The instructor will see the difference in your writing style quite easily because you will be asked to write some of your work in class. Secondly, since most instructors require that you submit an electronic copy of your work. The Department of Rhetoric and Composition will routinely check papers using a special anti-plagiarism program which tracks down any text of more than one sentence that is taken from any Internet source, or has been written by a professional writing service. The AUC subscribes to a service that will allow us to track down any plagiarism (see www.turnitin.com). All students are required to register for turnitin.com and must submit at least one draft of each assignment electronically to turnitin.com
What are the consequences of violations of academic integrity?
Any violation of academic integrity (plagiarism, cheating, data fabrication, submitting an assignment or part of an assignment written for another course, impersonation, etc.) may automatically result in a grade of “F” for the course in which the offence was committed, a case being filed against the student at the Academic Integrity Committee, and a note of academic integrity being added to the student’s transcript.
What happens if an instructor suspects that I have violated academic integrity?
- All violations of academic integrity will be reported first to the Chair/Associate Chair of the Rhetoric and Composition Department.
- Instructors submit the Academic Integrity Violation Report to the Academic Integrity Committee after it has been approved by the Chair/Associate Chair. After that approval has been received, the instructor will inform you about the failure of the course and the submission of the report and explain why it is being submitted.
- The instructor will send you an email that notifies you that your case is being reported to the Academic Integrity Committee, with a copy of the report submitted to this committee.
- A student will not have to appear before the Academic Integrity Committee without having learned from the instructor why this will be required.
What is Turnitin.com?
Turnitin.com is an excellent resource that allows students and instructors to have access to a number of electronic tools that can help improve academic writing. It can allow for peer editing of papers, instructor feedback, grading, and more. It also allows students and instructors to check if a student’s paper has similarity to other student’s papers, internet sources, books, journals, and more. A high similarity score can indicate important problems in writing, such as plagiarism and excessive use of sources or quoting. Your instructor will tell you more about how to use Turnitin.com in class.
Students agree that by taking their RHET or CORE course that all required papers may be subject to submission for textual similarity review to Turnitin.com for the detection of plagiarism. All submitted papers will be included as source documents in the Turnitin.com reference database solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism of such papers. Use of the Turnitin.com service is subject to the Usage Policy posted on the Turnitin.com site.
What are the procedures for using Turnitin.com?
You need to open a turnitin.com account.
Instructors will provide a class ID and password so that you can connect the class to your turnitin.com account.
Instructors will require you to submit major assignments (including drafts) to Turnitin.com.
Turnitin.com reviews the submitted assignment and produces an Originality Report.
You should carefully check the report. Turnitin.com reports can be a helpful tool for you to see if there is any plagiarism (using sources without citing) or excessive use of sources (too many quotes and paraphrasing). If you find a problem, you should immediately communicate with your instructor that you have noticed the problem.
Instructors will also carefully check the Turnitin originality report to confirm that no problems exist. If problems are detected, the instructor will communicate with you.
Do I have to attend every class session in Department of Rhetoric and Composition courses?
According to university policy, a student should regularly attend classes, however, you are allowed to miss up to a three-week equivalent of class sessions (which equals six class sessions). Both absences and tardiness count towards this total. If you exceed this limit, there are serious consequences. These six absences are meant for unavoidable absence due to illness, extracurricular activities, or sports commitments. There are no excused absences or tardies in addition to this amount allowed.
Who is responsible for keeping attendance?
According to AUC, a student is ultimately responsible for knowing how many classes they have missed. RHET instructors may notify a student that they are approaching the limit of six absences, or when a student has exceeded six absences, but it is ultimately the student’s responsibility to make sure they do not exceed six absences.
What happens if I miss a class?
Students who are absent are still responsible for their work. In all cases where an absence is known in advance, it must be communicated to the instructors. In rare cases, where advance notice is not possible, then the student should attempt to make prompt communication with the instructor as soon as possible. If a student is absent for a documented extracurricular activity or faces some type of emergency, even though it still counts as an absence, the student should still present supporting documentation to the instructor as soon as possible. In all cases, it is the student’s responsibility to either submit the scheduled work on time, unless arrangements with the instructor have been made.
What happens if I exceed six absences?
- If a student exceeds six absences before the course drop deadline, then the student automatically fails.
- If a student exceeds six absences after the course drop deadline, then they are given one of two choices.
- to immediately fail the course
- to drop one full letter grade for each absence beyond the sixth (or half a grade – 5% for half an absence). This means if the student’s final grade would have been a B, it will drop to a C on the seventh absence, a D on the eighth, and an F on the ninth.
- Students who miss more than six classes due to documented health or family emergencies, or some extracurricular activities, may petition to drop their courses or withdraw from the University after the formal deadline to drop courses. The Dean of Undergraduate Studies will determine the merit of late requests to drop courses or withdraw.
Is attendance counted as part of the grade?
No, attendance itself is not a learning outcome, so attendance itself is not a part of your course grade. However, missing class means missing instruction, discussion, and sometimes even missing graded classroom assignments or activities, and these things can and often have a negative impact on grades.
When should I start attending class? When does attendance officially start?
You should start attending class on the first day of classes. However, attendance is not counted during the drop/add period. The first class that will be counted towards attendance is the first class after the end of this period. However, graded assignments may be given during the drop/add period.
What is the policy on tardiness or missing part, but not all, of a class session?
If a student misses a combined 10 or more minutes of a class session then it is marked as half an absence. If a student misses combined 30 or more minutes of a class session, then it is marked as a full absence.
What happens if I have a medical excuse or family crisis? How does that affect attendance?
Unfortunately, sometimes medical situations or family crisis develop and students have to cope with these unexpected illnesses or crises; that is one of the reasons students are allowed to miss up to six class sessions. Such situations do not allow a student to have additional absences, beyond the standard six absences. However, for any medical situations or family crisis, documentation should still be presented to the instructor. If this documentation has been approved by an authorized medical officer and certified by an AUC officer designated by the AUC clinic director, and if the student informs the instructor within seven working days, then the instructor will work with the student to make arrangements for missed work.
What happens if I have an extracurricular activity? How does that affect attendance?
Students are encouraged to participate in extracurricular activities, such as Model United Nations, artistic performances or sports competitions. However, it is important to note that absences because of these activities still count as absences. It is the student’s responsibility to arrange for dealing with missed classes in advance of the classes to be missed. This means that unless prior arrangements are made with the instructor, all assignments remain due as per normal deadlines. If a student presents an excuse signed by a university officer designated by the Vice President for Student Affairs, and if the student informs the instructor in advance of an absence, then the instructor will work with the student to make arrangements for missed work.
Can RHET 1010, CORE 1010, or RHET 1020 be dropped?
A student is not allowed to drop any of these courses before the semester starts, or during drop/add week without departmental approval, which is only granted in the most exceptional cases.
After the completion of drop/add week and the semester is fully started, if a student is struggling in one of these courses, then they are allowed to request permission to drop the course. Students are required to provide legitimate documentation supporting their petition to drop the course, especially if they have previously dropped the same course. Under some circumstances, the request to drop will be granted approval. This process does take time as it requires approval by the instructor, the RHET department, and sometimes even the dean’s office. However, many requests are not approved, including, but not limited to the following reasons.
- A student may not drop to avoid the penalty from an academic integrity violation.
- A student may not drop if he/she has had a registration hold placed on them for formerly postponing RHET 1010, CORE 1010, or RHET 1020.
- A student may be prevented from dropping if it puts them at risk of not completing their courses in a timely manner.
Can RHET 2220, a 3000 or 4000 level RHET courses be dropped?
Generally yes, although there are some situations where a drop request may be rejected, (e.g. if the student has committed an academic integrity violation in class). Check with your instructor or the department for clarification.
I’m thinking about dropping my course. What should I do?
- First, talk with your instructor and see if this is the best option.
- Second, if after talking with your instructor you want to seek permission to drop, then fill out the drop form. It is important to note that filling out this form does not mean you have dropped the course, it means you are seeking permission to drop the course. You should continue attending classes until you hear that your drop is approved. You must complete and submit the drop form prior to the drop deadline, even though the approval might occur after the deadline.
- If you fill out the form, and then change your mind, contact your instructor and the RHET department ASAP asking that the drop request be rejected.
- If the drop request is approved, the course remains on the student’s transcript and is assigned a grade of “W.” A “W” counts as one of the allowed attempts to complete a RHET or CORE course.
What happens if I miss the drop deadline?
For almost all students, it is simply too late to drop, hence the name deadline. However, if a student has an extraordinary case, they need to speak to the chair of the Department of Rhetoric and Composition, who will review the case, and possibly refer it to the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Studies, who may then recommend to the registrar’s office that a late drop be allowed under an exceptional circumstance. (Avoiding a fail is never considered an exceptional circumstance).
Can I drop either RHET 1010 or CORE 1010 and still continue in the other tandem course?
No. For tandem RHET 1010 and CORE 1010 sections, if a student is approved for dropping one course, they will automatically be dropped from the other.
Can I be dropped from any RHET/CORE course?
Like with other courses at AUC, failure to pay fees in a timely manner can result in the Registrar dropping you from your courses, including RHET/CORE courses if registered in any.
What happens if I fail only RHET 1010 or CORE 1010, but pass the other tandem course?
This is possible. Each course is given its own grade. If a student has to repeat only one of the courses, then the following semester, they need to register in one of the stand-alone (non-tandem) sections of the course they are repeating.
What happens if I fail both RHET 1010 and CORE 1010?
This is possible. The following semester you will need to register again for these courses, yet you cannot repeat the same theme; thus, you must register in a different theme.
What happens if I fail only CORE 1010, the next semester do I retake CORE 1010 with or without RHET 1020?
Ideally to stay on track with AUC’s Timely Completion Policies, a student should take RHET 1020 even if repeating CORE 1010, this is generally the most beneficial for the student. However, there are some situations where the department may approve postponing RHET 1020 for one semester while the student repeats CORE 1010. You can meet with the department chair or associate chair for further details.
What happens if I fail RHET 1020?
You are expected to attempt it again during your next semester, or a hold will be placed on your registration.
What happens if I fail RHET 2220, a 3000, or a 4000 level RHET course?
You only need to attempt the course again if your major or minor requires it. If you want to attempt the course again because you want to pass the course or improve your grade, then you have the standard retake or repeat options allowed at AUC.
Can I be exempted from RHET 1010, CORE 1010 or RHET 1020?
Usually no. All students should complete RHET1010, CORE1010 and RHET1020 in their freshman year. For a small percentage of students, exemption from RHET1010 and CORE1010 may apply, in the following cases:
- Certain diplomas (like the International Baccalaureate) or exams (like the Advanced Placement exams) may automatically exempt a student from RHET 1010 and CORE 1010. Details may be obtained from the Office of the Registrar.-
Students who transfer from other universities may be eligible for exemption or transfer of credit. These requests must also be processed through the registrar's office.
When am I exempted from a course do I still get credit for it?
When you are exempted from one of the Department of Rhetoric and Composition's courses, you do not get credit for the course (there are a few exceptions among IB certificates and transfer students). This means that you will have to make up these credits needed for graduation by taking other courses. Usually, the situations are handled on a case-by-case situation in communication with the RHET department.
How will I be graded in RHET courses?
All courses will use a letter grade system. The final percentage grade corresponds to the letter grade as seen below.
Percentage Letter Grade
There are no D-, IP, or I grades in RHET/CORE 1010 and RHET 1020 courses.
There are no D-, or IP grades in RHET 2220, and all 3000/4000 level courses.
Who assesses my work in RHET courses?
Your instructor is the one who assesses your work. All instructors are well trained so as to offer consistent, fair, and valid grading across sections. Instructors use the same or similar rubrics for most major assignments. Also, faculty meet throughout the semester to discuss the nature of assignments and to grade sample papers to ensure similar grading.
How will I know at what level (or grade) I am performing during the semester?
Your instructor will be giving you detailed feedback throughout the semester, helping you to understand your writing and performance level for the course. If at any point in the course, you do not feel that you know your performance level, you should set up a meeting with your instructor. It is particularly important that you have an understanding of your performance level prior to the course drop deadline, so that you can make any necessary decisions or adjustments. If you feel you have insufficient feedback on your performance from your instructor and the course drop deadline is approaching, then you need to quickly seek a meeting with your instructor.
I’m having trouble completing all the work by the end of the semester. What options do I have?
For RHET 1010, CORE 1010, or RHET 1020, your options are limited, as there are no IP (In Process) or I (Incomplete) grades given in these courses. Thus, all grades for all students must be submitted at the end of the semester. No grades can be “delayed” until later. This means that all work for the course must be submitted in a timely manner and as per your instructor's guidelines. You may talk with your instructor about trying to extend the final assignments deadlines by a day or two, but this is up to the instructor’s discretion, as the instructor has to have enough time to submit final grades by the registrar's deadline.
For RHET 2220, 3000, and 4000 level courses, in some limited circumstances, an “I” (Incomplete) grade may be possible, but this is only for exceptional situations (medical emergencies, family deaths, etc). In most cases though, the work for the course must be submitted in a timely manner and as per your instructor's guidelines. You may talk with your instructor about trying to extend the final assignments deadlines by a day or two, but this is up to the instructor’s discretion, as the instructor has to have enough time to submit final grades by the registrar's deadline. In both emergency and nonemergency situations, you should speak to your instructor as soon as you can.
Can I appeal a specific assignment grade?
If you have a concern about a grade on a specific assignment, you should carefully review the assignment’s prompt, guidelines, any rubric that might have been given for the assignment, as well as any feedback the instructor gave on the graded assignment. After having carefully reviewed all of this, if you still feel your work should have earned a higher grade, then request a time to meet with your instructor. You should go to the meeting prepared to explain why according to the assignment details and rubric that you feel that your work deserves a higher grade. The ultimate decision for the grade though lies with the instructor.
Can I appeal the final course grade given to me by the faculty?
If you have a concern about your final grade in the course, you should attempt to meet with the instructor as soon as possible, and specifically before final grades have been submitted to the Registrar’s office. When you meet with your instructor, you should have evidence-based reasoning based on assignment prompts, rubrics, etc. to support why you believe your work deserves a higher grade.
After the final grade has been submitted by the instructor to the registrar, the instructor will have some availability to explain, but not negotiate the grade. Further details about the instructor’s availability will be in your syllabus. If you have questions or concerns about your final grade, you should be prepared to ask specific questions, specifically referencing assignment prompts, rubrics, syllabus policies, etc. Pay close attention to your instructor’s explanation, because while a student might not like their final grade, nevertheless, they can see through their instructor’s explanation that the grading was done fairly and as per grading guidelines.
However, in the rare cases where a student still feels that their grade is unjustified according to the course syllabus, assignment prompts, and given rubrics, then the student can go through an official academic grievance process. This process requires very specific steps and should be followed carefully. You can read about the academic grievance procedures by clicking here.
How do my RHET courses help me?
Your RHET courses can help you in many ways. AUC values writing across the curriculum, meaning that writing is expected in all majors. Thus, your RHET courses can help you across all of your courses. Similarly, critical thinking is a core component of many courses at AUC and your RHET courses will help you in these areas. Beyond AUC, the marketplace highly values employees who have good communication skills, and your RHET courses will help you develop in these skills as well. Additionally, your RHET 1010, RHET 1020, and CORE 1010 courses are a great introduction to the academic rigor and standards that are expected at AUC, so learning to succeed in these courses will greatly prepare you for your later courses. Also, some AUC students like to do a Study Abroad/Exchange program as part of their university experience, most of these programs require that a student has completed their RHET requirements.
Will the grade in any writing course affect the GPA?
Yes. It will affect the overall GPA, just like any other academic course at AUC.
Will it affect my chances of getting into a particular major?
Each major determines its own standards for accepting students into the major, some departments will consider overall GPA, some will not. The RHET Department does not set these standards. However, being able to write well is valued across many majors and your RHET courses will help you improve in this area.
I’m concerned that taking a RHET course will put me at a disadvantage (i.e. in GPA or in doing pre-requisites for my major) in comparison to other students at AUC.
Many students have this concern, because RHET courses sometimes have the reputation of being difficult, and students generally have to work quite diligently to earn a good grade. However, course requirements are equally rigorous for all students. The RHET department strives to ensure that all students are treated equally so that no one is at a particular advantage or disadvantage. All students are required to take their RHET courses and to complete them in a timely manner. Also, RHET courses use similar rubrics and grading standards. Thus, students face a fair and similar situation to all other students. However, if you uniquely feel that you will struggle in your RHET course, you are highly encouraged to speak to your instructor at the start of the semester to see what options for extra help might be available.
The course or section that I want is full, can I still get in the course?
For RHET 1010, CORE 1010, and RHET 1020 (since they are mandatory courses) if the specific section you want is full, then your only choice is to look for another section that has openings and to register in that section. If you have documented reasons clearly demonstrating why the remaining options are not possible for you then please have your academic advisor contact the RHET department immediately, with a full explanation of the situation.
For RHET 2220, all 3000, and 4000 level courses, you can add your name to the waiting list in Banner. If an opening happens in a course, then we pull from the waiting list to fill the course.
I am registered in a course, but want to switch to a new section, what can I do?
If there are openings in the course you want, then you can switch courses on Banner Self-Service, if you need help, please visit the RHET offices.
However, once a section is full, we cannot move you into that section. You can regularly check back on Banner to see if any spots open, if they do, then you can try to swap into that section. Another option is if you can find another student to swap with. If you want to register in a different section, and a student from that section wants to move into the section you are in, then you can both come to the RHET offices together and we can swap for you. You can stop by the RHET offices to get details about how to possibly find students interested in swapping.
Do I have the right to choose the faculty member or the day and time of my RHET section?
Newly admitted students can work with their academic advisor to build their schedule, while continuing students have the opportunity to register online through the Banner Self-Service registration system during the registration period. In both cases, as long as there are spaces available in a section, students have the right to choose. However, after a section is full or has reached the registration cap, you can no longer enroll in that section. Effort is made to accommodate student schedules, but occasionally a less than perfect schedule may have to be accepted, particularly for any students waiting until drop/add week to register. After a student is registered, changes in registration can only be made by the RHET administrators or staff.
If the department changes the faculty member assigned to my course section, do I have the right to switch also?
The department makes tremendous effort to avoid changing instructors for courses once their names are posted, but sometimes due to unplanned circumstances, the department reserves the right to switch faculty members if needed. If the listed instructor for a course changes, and a student wants to change their section, the student is allowed to search for an open spot in another section, in which case, the student may come to the RHET office where we will make the change if possible. However, students cannot switch into classes that are already full or closed.
Why isn’t the cap for the 1010-RHET/CORE and 1020 sections the same for all sections?
Generally you will find that similar courses have similar caps. However, there are a variety of factors that can affect the cap of courses, such as the capacity of the room, the number of sections offered at that time slot, the number of newly admitted students remaining who haven’t had a chance to register yet, whether it is a repeater section of the course, and more.
RHET/CORE 1010 are tandemized, but does RHET 1020 have a tandemized section?
RHET 1020 is not tandemized in the same way that RHET/CORE 1010 are, but it is required that a student complete LALT 1020 during the same semester as RHET 1020. Since LALT 1020 is a required course to graduate and since most students find that it helps them in their RHET 1020 course, students are highly advised to complete these during the same semester.
I have a documented special need. What should I do?
First, know that all Department of Rhetoric and Composition instructors are committed to helping students with special needs. If you have a documented disability and want to request special accommodations at any time during the semester, ask your instructor or contact Student Disability Services at extension 3918 or firstname.lastname@example.org. AUC complies with the American Disabilities Act of 1990 and section 504 of the Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and offers numerous facilities available to help you with your educational endeavors.
I feel that I will need some additional support. What should I do?
You should meet with your instructor as early in the semester as possible. Explain your situation to your instructor and ask what additional assistance might be available. AUC offers many services to help students strengthen and improve in both academic and non-academic areas, and some of these may be helpful. Additionally, the Mohamed Taymour Writing and Communication Center can offer additional support in writing.
What does the Mohamed Taymour Writing and Communication Center offer? How can the Writing and Communication Center help me?
The Mohamed Taymour Writing and Communication Center offers individual 30-minute tutoring sessions to help you improve your communication abilities through writing, presenting and critical thinking. You can tell the writing center what you need help with or the writing center can look at the progress of your work and then recommend focusing the time on brainstorming, outlining and planning, researching, drafting and revising, grammar and mechanics, style and documentation, responding to instructor comments and developing ideas for your capstone project. You can see available times and sign up for an appointment here. Walk-ins are allowed, but only if there is an available tutor.
My instructor uses a lot of online tools and systems to coordinate the class, and I think I need some extra help, what should I do?
As is common in many courses at AUC, many rhetoric instructors also actively use online tools to help coordinate and manage the class and assignments (such as Turnitin.com, Google Drive, Google Sites, Blackboard, Moodle, or more). It is highly advantageous for students to become familiar with using such online resources. If you feel that you may need extra help in this area, please approach your instructor early in the semester. Other resources available to you are to visit UACT at AUC which is able to help students with many computer related issues. Also, most of these online tools have many helpful “help videos” on their websites or on youtube.com. If you have limited access to a computer with an internet connection, then you are encouraged to use the computer labs available in the library.
I have a concern about the instructor, the course, or the way the class is being run, what should I do?
In almost all cases, you should first speak directly with the instructor. If for some reason you feel you cannot speak directly with the instructor, then you should come to the RHET offices and ask to meet with the chair or the associate chair of the department. But again, in almost all cases, you should start by meeting with the instructor. When you meet with the instructor you should be prepared to express your concerns in a professional and respectable manner. In most cases, this will resolve the concern.
If for some reason, this does not resolve the concern, then you should come to the RHET offices and ask to meet with the chair or the associate chair of the department. You should come to that meeting with any evidence or proof that would support your concern. If the process of meeting with the chair or associate chair does not resolve your concern, then you can go through an official academic grievance process. This process requires very specific steps and should be followed carefully. You can read about the academic Grievance Procedures by clicking here.
What is “Timely Completion?” How does that affect me taking RHET 1010, CORE 1010, and RHET 1020?
AUC has a set of courses that all students are expected to complete during their freshman year, and others that should be completed by the end of their sophomore year. AUC has a set of Timely Completion policies to ensure that students complete these courses accordingly. The Department of Rhetoric and Composition enforces these policies. Some of these policies relevant to Rhet Department courses are:
- All students, except for those with transfer credits or advanced standing, take RHET 1010/CORE 1010 (6 credits) in their first semester as freshmen.
- Students must register for RHET 1020 in the semester immediately following successful completion of RHET 1010, along with the required LALT 1020, or a hold will be placed on their subsequent registration until the issue is satisfactorily resolved.
- All students should thus complete their RHET courses, during their Freshman year, before proceeding to Sophomore-level status.
- For undeclared students, only those who have completed the RHET 1010/ CORE 1010 tandem classes, RHET 1020, LALT 1020, and Scientific Thinking, will be eligible to declare a major at AUC. During the semester in which they wish to declare, these students must also have completed, or be currently enrolled in, either ALL or ALL BUT ONE of their required Pathways course(s) and Philosophical Thinking.
- Any student who wishes to declare or proceed in his or her major without having completed the Freshman Program requirements according to the terms set out above will require explicit written approval from the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Studies. Such approval will be granted under exceptional circumstances.
What happens if I fail or drop a RHET 1010, CORE 1010, or RHET 1020 course? Will I be in violation of AUC’s “Timely Completion Policy?”
A student who fails or drops one of the above courses is not immediately in violation of Timely Completion policies. A student is allowed a maximum of four attempts for each of RHET 1010, CORE 1010 and RHET 1020. Warnings are sent to students who are in danger of not completing these course in a timely manner, reminding them that their continuation at AUC is contingent on successfully completing these courses in a timely manner.
Can I postpone RHET 1010, CORE 1010, or RHET 1020?
Generally, no. All students are expected to take RHET 1010 and CORE 1010 their first semester at AUC, and then take RHET 1020 and LALT 1020 immediately after completing those courses. It is only under the most unusual and exceptional circumstances that a student is approved to postpone. Any petition to postpone has to be approved by the Department of Rhetoric and Composition and the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Studies.
Can I postpone a 3000 or a 4000 level RHET course?
Generally yes, unless your major or minor dictates otherwise.