What Are My Course Polices?
This document spells out several of my policies as they apply to all of the classes I teach here at SUNY Ulster County Community College. A hard copy of this document is handed out to all of my students each semester and this material is meant to supplement the Academic Rights and Responsibilities section of the current College catalog. You are expected to be familiar with these policies as I will hold you to them. Everything is spelled out here to prevent any misunderstandings later.
Classroom Etiquette
  • Arrive to class on time. It disrupts everyone when people come in late and if you come in late you will miss being marked present, the handing back of assignments, and important announcements. Let me know, after class, if you came in late and I will mark you as having been present for part of the class. I will speak with people who make it a habit of coming in late and maintain the option of exacting penalties, up to and including withdrawal from the class, for repeated tardiness.

  • If you must enter or leave the room in the middle of a class, do so quietly, and leave the classroom door the way I have it set (if it's closed, leave it closed and vice-versa). Don't walk between me and the students if I'm lecturing since it's very distracting for everyone concerned.

  • Turn off your cell phones. It is very distracting to everyone when someone's cell phone starts playing a tune in the middle of a lecture. If you're concerned about missing an important call, set your ringer to vibrate and then quietly leave the room to take the call in private.

  • There is no eating in the Burroughs 101 laboratory. I currently allow students to bring drinks into the lab during lectures but you are responsible for cleaning up any messes which may result.

  • Don't chat with your neighbor. This is disturbing to people who are trying to listen to the lecture and take notes. I can also hear you in the front of the classroom and will stop my lecture to ask you to be quiet.

  • Don't write on the tables, play with the any of the samples or lab equipment, or in any way intentionally damage anything in the lab. I will eject anyone doing so from the room and may report the incident to Campus Security if significant damage is done.
Attendance and Missing Classes
  • I take attendance for all classes, laboratories, and outside events. Unless otherwise noted in your course outline, I will not deduct points from your final course grade for missing classes (unless, of course, by missing the class you also miss an exam or an assignment turn-in date). I do, however, reserve the right to withdraw students from my class if I determine that they have missed too many classes (how many is too many depends on how the student is doing in the course and what has been missed).

  • Be advised, however, that class attendance is reported to the College Financial Aid Office (as required by law) so that missing too many classes may place your financial aid in jeopardy. Attendance is also reported to the Athletics Director if you play for a College team and excessive absences may also jeopardize your participation in varsity sports.

  • On a practical note, students who miss class often almost always do poorly in my classes. You not just missing a class, you're missing important announcements, opportunities to turn in your assignments on time, and stimulating discussions on topics which may not appear in your textbook!

  • It's also a good idea to make friends with someone in the class so that you can get a copy of their notes if you do miss a class. I do not provide lecture notes for missed classes. I also encourage students to feel free to work together on assignments and study together for exams.
Assignment Due Dates
All assignments handed out in class will have firm due dates printed on them. I will not accept late assignments but they can always be handed in early! Assignments are an integral part of my classes and they will only benefit you if you do them when you're supposed to. Handing them in on time will also allow me to quickly grade them and hand them back to you in the following class allowing you to use them to study for any upcoming exams.
Extra Credit
I occasionally offer students the opportunity to earn some extra credit in a course. However, I always offer all students in the class the same opportunity (i.e. it's available to all or to no one). I never offer extra credit opportunities to students who ask for them at the end of the semester because they have a poor grade (especially when they have a poor grade because they weren't doing any work all semester). You are also not entitled to extra credit; if you miss an opportunity (e.g. a Saturday field trip or evening lecture), you simply miss the points. There are no make-ups.
Withdrawing From a Course
Students occasionally have to drop or withdraw from a course for a myriad of reasons. I understand and will sign a drop or withdrawal form when a student brings one. Check with the Registrar's Office for exact dates, but in general::
  • The last day to drop a course (a dropped course does not show up on your transcript) is at the end of the third week of the semester.

  • The last day to withdraw from a course is at the end of the tenth week of the semester. If you withdraw from a course, a W will appear on your transcript but it will not harm your grade point average (GPA).
These are official dates and I cannot change them. Unfortunately, what many people do is simply stop coming to class and never officially withdraw. Do not count on me to withdraw you from a course if you stop attending. That is your responsibility! I am forced, by College policy, to give those students an F in the course. Please don't come to me later and ask me the change an F to a W after the fact, I will not do it.
Missed Exams
Missing an exam is very serious and will obviously affect your course grade. I will not give make-up exams except for very exceptional circumstances. Here's what you need to do if you miss an exam:
  • If you simply miss the test and wander in clueless the next time we meet, you're out of luck and have already received a zero on the exam. This only occurs when people ignore the course syllabus, ignore the course web page, and ignore several announcements about the upcoming test made in class. Missing an exam will obviously affect your grade adversely and may make it impossible for you to pass the class.

  • If the reason you missed the exam is not very serious (e.g. your car broke down, you have a cold, or you overslept) all is not lost. Simply contact me that day to explain why and to schedule a time for you to take the exam before it's graded and handed back to everyone else. Once it's graded and handed back, all bets are off and you will receive a zero for the exam.

  • If the reason you missed the exam is serious (e.g. a death in your immediate family, you've been arrested, or you are seriously ill) then I still expect you to contact me as soon as you're able so that we can work out a strategy to deal with the material you will be missing. I may also expect you to document your excuse with the Dean of Students before I will work with you on making up any material (I'm sorry I have to do this during a potentially traumatic time in your life but blame the students who have lied to me in the past about such things).
Bottom line, do all that you can not to miss an exam.
Academic Honesty
Cheating and plagiarism of any kind is not tolerated and will be severely punished. All work on web assignments, exams, term papers, or anything else turned in for credit must be your own. Plagiarism includes copying word-for-word answers off of someone else's web assignment or lab exercise while working together. I also reserve the right to run all student-submitted papers through plagiarism detection services like SafeAssign. Students have been busted by me and referred to the appropriate College disciplinarian for such issues - don't even think about it! If you're unsure of what constitutes cheating or plagiarism, or have knowledge of someone else's cheating or plagiarism, see me privately.
Contacting Me
There are three very easy ways to contact me.
  • The easiest way is to send an e-mail message to schimmrs@sunyulster.edu. During the school day, I check my e-mail often and I will even occasionally check it in the evenings and over weekends.

  • You can also call my office at 845-687-7683. During my office hours is obviously the best time to reach me but I'm there many other times during the day. If I'm not in my office, leave a voice mail and I'll return your call.

  • You may also call the Math/Science Department at 845-687-5230 and leave a message with the department secretary.
What I don't want to hear, because it's simply not credible, is that you tried to reach me and failed.

Last updated on: Steven H. Schimmrich