Expectations and Policies

On this page, you will find the expectations for students in the course as well as content for plagiarism, disability resources, religious holidays, and the like.

Classroom Expectations

Students should arrive at class on time and use their computers and devices appropriately. Unless absolutely necessary for in-class learning activities, cell phones should be put away for the duration of the class.

This class is designed both to facilitate discussion and foster skills, which require sustained interaction with the instructor and your peers. As such, attendance is mandatory for all set meetings. Since discussion is an essential component of the class, students are expected to actively participate and engage other students and their opinions with dignity and respect. Students are expected to maintain a level of respect for the instructor and fellow students at all times, including using respectful language.

Students are expected to use non-racist, non-sexist, and gender-inclusive language. Racially charged language will not be permitted in the class. Historians often study periods that used racially charged language, and it is important that if we reproduce that language we do so sensitively and with respect and consideration to the victims of the language of the time and our peers in the present.

Similarly, language is gender-inclusive and non-sexist when we use words that affirm and respect how people describe, express, and experience their gender. Just as sexist language excludes women’s experiences, non-gender-inclusive language excludes the experiences of individuals whose identities may not fit the gender binary, and/or who may not identify with the sex they were assigned at birth. Identities including trans, intersex, and genderqueer reflect personal descriptions, expressions, and experiences. Gender-inclusive/non-sexist language acknowledges people of any gender (for example, first-year student versus freshman, chair versus chairman, humankind versus mankind, etc.). It also affirms non-binary gender identifications and recognizes the difference between biological sex and gender expression. Students, faculty, and staff may share their preferred pronouns and names, and these gender identities and gender expressions should be honored.

Academic Honesty and Plagiarism

Every student is expected to produce their own work based on their own ideas and cite anyone else’s ideas or words appropriately. Certain material that an average person would consider common knowledge does not need to be cited. Such information would include that Christopher Columbus sailed across the Atlantic Ocean in 1492 or the American Revolution began in 1776. Other information, however, needs to be cited if it did not originate in your mind. More information on

Pitt’s academic integrity code can be found online:

Disabilities and Academic Accommodations

If you have a disability for which you are or may be requesting an accommodation, you are encouraged to contact both your instructor and the Office of Disability Resources and Services, 140 William Pitt Union, 412-648-7890/412-624-3346 (Fax), as early as possible in the term. Disability Resources and Services will verify your disability and determine reasonable accommodations for this course.  For more information, visit https://www.diversity.pitt.edu/disability-access/disability-resources-and-services

Religious Holidays

If any assignments or due dates interfere with your personal religious observation, I will be happy to make accommodations. Remember, it is the responsibility of the student, within the first two weeks of the semester, to let me know the dates of major religious holidays on which the student will be absent or unavailable due to religious observances. Please, see the Pitt Office for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion religious holiday calendar: https://www.diversity.pitt.edu/events/holiday-calendar

Student Resources

Online Learning Services and Resources ( https://www.cgs.pitt.edu/online-courses/learning-services-resources )
University Libraries ( https://www.library.pitt.edu/ )
Writing Center ( https://www.writingcenter.pitt.edu/ )
University Counseling Center ( https://www.studentaffairs.pitt.edu/cc/ )

Student Privacy

Under FERPA laws, your federal education rights and privacy transferred to the student and not the parent after the student turns 18 or attends a postsecondary educational institution like GMU. Therefore, I can only interact with you about your education in this course and cannot respond to questions about your performance in this course with anyone else but you. For more information, see the FERPA statement from Pitt ( https://www.registrar.pitt.edu//students/ferpa )

E-mail Communication

When writing emails to me, be sure to include a subject line, address me properly by my title and last name, and sign off with your name. Proper email formatting skills are required in post-university life.

Each student is issued a University e-mail address (username@pitt.edu) upon admittance. This e-mail address may be used by the University for official communication with students. Students are expected to read e-mails sent to this account on a regular basis. Failure to read and react to University communications in a timely manner does not absolve the student from knowing and complying with the content of the communications. The University provides an e-mail forwarding service that allows students to read their e-mail via other service providers (e.g., Hotmail, AOL, Yahoo). Students that choose to forward their e-mail from their pitt.edu address to another address do so at their own risk. If e-mail is lost as a result of forwarding, it does not absolve the student from responding to official communications sent to their University e-mail address. To forward an e-mail sent to your University account, go to http://accounts.pitt.edu, log into your account, click on Edit Forwarding Addresses, and follow the instructions on the page. Be sure to log out of your account when you have finished. (For the full E-mail Communication Policy, go to www.bc.pitt.edu/policies/policy/09/09-10- 01.html )

GIS Help

I am available via email most days within reasonable hours for help with your work. You can also email me for appointments outside of office hours for help. Finally, Hillman Library has its own GIS Librarian (Boris Michev) and GIS help desk. You can find more information about that here: http://www.library.pitt.edu/geospatial-data-and-analysis.