These guidelines are no longer updated. While broadly similar to current expectations, and thus provided for quick reference, they are superseded by the requirements provided in printed syllabi.

Instructions for Writing:

Papers should be succinct and clear with good grammar, typewritten (double-spaced), with a 12-point readable font, numbered pages and standard margins. I will assume that you have had opportunity to use a spell-checker, and the Writing Center, as needed. I will grade the quality of your writing accordingly!

Write in straightforward prose as taught in, e.g., Strunk and White’s Elements of Style. Often, less is more. Formal academic style is expected—i.e., your paper should be free from contractions, etc. You may use first-person, especially to avoid passive verbs, but do so sparingly. You must cite sources in a consistent manner, following an appropriate style guide for your program (in most cases for Bible/theology, a blend of SBL abbreviations with Chicago/Turabian). I will penalize papers that exceed assigned word counts by more than 10%! On formulating and evaluating arguments, Anthony Weston, A Rulebook for Arguments, is helpful. Note also librarian Lisa Richmond’s Supra, etc.: A Guide to Scholarly Abbreviations (available at Buswell).

You must submit papers as follows or else suffer a penalty, up to a full letter-grade (10%): follow instructions carefully! Along with a paper-clipped (not stapled!) copy in class, you shall email your paper as an attached file, in either .doc or .docx (or, if absolutely necessary due to foreign-language fonts, .pdf) format. If foreign-language fonts are involved, you are responsible to make them properly readable. In all cases your title page should provide the word count including footnotes as well as the style guide(s) used. In no cases should your name appear after the title page.

Late Work:

Late assignments will be reduced by 1 full letter grade (10%) for each calendar day late. Unless you are providing a signed note from medical or psychological personnel, don’t ask in person or in advance for an extension! Instead, if you wish to claim extenuating circumstances, please submit an extra cover sheet with the explanation when you turn in the assignment. The circumstances must not be simply bad planning or stress or extracurricular activities. If you have multiple assignments due around the same time, plan ahead!

Work is due at the start of class; assignments that arrive during class are considered to be a day late. There will be no automatic provision of a makeup exam (except due to extraordinary circumstances). Exams missed due to the student's fault typically cannot be made up and at minimum involve a major grade penalty (either no higher than a C in the class or no higher than a 50 on the exam).

Academic Dishonesty:

Academic dishonesty occurs when any member of the academic community fails to represent truthfully the sources of their work in an assignment. This is a form of both stealing and lying, whether via cheating, plagiarism, fabrication, deception, deliberate pursuit of unfair advantage (e.g., seeking illegitimate extensions, or obtaining test questions inappropriately), or collusion with the academic dishonesty of another student. Such dishonesty is disobedience to Christ and violates our shared commitments in the Wheaton College Community Covenant. The College-wide policy on academic honesty may be found in the Student Handbook.

Regarding plagiarism in particular, simply changing the wording of a statement does not exempt you from acknowledging its source, if it is outside general knowledge (a possible rule of thumb: if you see the same idea mentioned by 2 or 3 authors, it may be general knowledge unless associated with a particular person). It is better to quote directly than to risk a strong paraphrase that changes wording only slightly, a practice that frequently falls into plagiarism. Ask yourself if you would be embarrassed if an author read your paper: would he or she feel slighted about some contribution they have made? All academic work involves engagement with and presentation of the ideas of others, so students should not hesitate to use such work: it is how that work is used that matters.

For help with writing in general, check out, and on plagiarism in particular see, especially regarding Plagiarism and Quoting Sources. Buswell Library's website also has instructive material about plagiarism. You shall submit a certification of completion for the Buswell plagiarism tutorial with any major paper (if you have completed the tutorial in the past for another course, simply indicate this, preferably with a photocopy of that certificate).

Unless otherwise specified, submit papers via SafeAssign, available as a link on Blackboard ...

Academic dishonesty will result in the fullest possible appropriate disciplinary action per the college's policy, with which you are expected to become familiar. Ignorance and good intentions are not adequate excuses; they do not remove the charge of plagiarism.

Language and Style:

Wheaton College is a gospel-centered community; for both Christian and professional reasons in general, you should not use language willfully excluding others. Thus, in references to human beings you ought to be gender-inclusive in ways that are possible in accordance with good style:

(1) You should alternate between employing “she” and “he,” and/or use "they," as generic pronouns;

(2) You should certainly refrain from obvious provocations such as “all men are ...” when “all people” will convey your meaning more clearly ... and so on.

Attendance and Decorum:

Our goal of growing into a vibrant Christian learning community draws us toward thinking of others besides ourselves. This means, at minimum: (1) making every possible effort to arrive on time; (2) making a special effort to avoid clothing (or lack of it) which might fit personal standards but nevertheless distract or offend others; and (3) resisting the temptation to pack up early or otherwise make distracting noise (including conversations while classmates are talking)—and yes, this means turning off your cell phones!

Attendance is a basic expectation. Once unexcused absences exceed 10% of class sessions, your final grade declines; past a certain point, failing the class for lack of attendance is a possibility. Significantly tardy arrival counts as 1/2 of an unexcused absence. Excused absences involve (i) illness; (ii) family emergencies; and (iii) official, necessary college activities during class time. Please do not expect to be excused for interesting family trips, valuable yet not required extracurricular activities, etc.

Attendance without some form of participatory attention does not count. You shall prepare the reading assignments before class according to its particular requirements, and offer questions or comments appropriate to the nature of the material and your personality. Do not confuse quantity with quality; yet, if we are to be a learning community, you cannot be solely a passive consumer.

You must check your Wheaton College email regularly (or forward it to your preferred address).

changed November 23, 2016