ILS 2215:  Integrative Learning:  Honors Seminar: The Earth in Peril     

Kenny Harmon                                                    [email protected]
Section 1: MW 11:40-1:35 GWC 408                    Office:  Suite 530, 5th floor of GWC
Contact Hours: 45                                               Office Hours: TR 12:40-1:40
4.5 Credit Hours                                                                          & by appointment
Fall 2019                  

Welcome to Integrative Learning:  An Honors Seminar (The Earth in Peril)! 


This course examines the intersection of science, literature, and film and focuses on the stories that we tell about our place in the world, the environmental issues created by unrealistic views about the earth's capabilities, and the changing concept of what it means to be a human as well as the varying definitions of what we mean by "nature."  Nowhere is this vital and ongoing conversation of our cultural attitudes toward nature, environment, and what it means to be human more relevant than in science fiction where, as Gerry Canavan has noted, “science, story, and political struggle can converge and cross-pollinate.” We will begin the term with a philosophical  exploration of nature as both place and concept and the cultural tendencies to view it as something that must be both escaped and recovered.  From there we will turn out attention to current environmental issues, genetics, and the idea of the post human.  Our goal is to make connections across the various course readings and to examine the idea of the Earth as both metaphorical "paradise" and "prison."

This is a reading and writing intensive course.


All course readings by provided by professor in Ulearn



Upon satisfactory completion of this course, the student should have the ability to:

1. Analyze the interactions of humans and the environment from literary,
    ecological, and environmental health perspectives
2. Infer from literary sources and scientific data how various ecosystems
    shape and are shaped by values, behavior, and institutions
3. Analyze scientific findings and quantitative data that support relationships
    among environmental issues, biology, and culture revealed in literary
4. Formulate and defend a plan that incorporates scientific findings and literary
   analysis leading to solutions towards a more sustainable planet.


Students will:  

  •   Attend class meetings and complete all reading, writing, and editing assignments. 

  • Complete reading quizzes to test familiarity with content of assigned texts.

  • Complete a final exam

  •   Read extensively critical essays by peers and experienced writers with attention to audience, purpose, tone, style, grammar, and punctuation.

  •   Complete daily blog entries 

  •   Actively participate in daily reading discussions in a Socratic Seminar style. 

  •   Complete homework as specified during the term. Homework may include exercises, shorter writing assignments, and other work that develops writing skills. Students should expect to write during or after every class. Students will be expected to participate in collaborative activities and class discussions and listen to lectures.

  •   Demonstrate competence in basic grammar, punctuation, mechanics, sentence structure, paraphrasing, and essay writing as defined through class lecture, model writings, practice, and rubrics.
  • You will compose two major argumentative essays along with some more informal writing assignments. You will also create a research-based group presentation. I will be more specific about the assignments as their assignment date approaches.

All written work is to be typed, including most in-class writing. I will explain the paper & presentation assignments when appropriate. All paper assignments will be covered in detail well before they are due. All papers must be typed, double-spaced, Times New Roman font, 12pt., with 1” borders on top, sides, and bottom according to MLA format.

Each major written assignment will include planning, drafting, revising, editing, and reflection. You are responsible for turning in all materials related to an assignment. This includes: invention strategies, draft versions, peer critiques, a final version, and a reflection. Failure to submit drafts, peer critiques, or reflections on the due date will affect your grade.

You must complete all MAJOR assignments in order to pass the course. Failure to complete any of the required assignments will result in a final course grade of F.


The following assignments will be graded. You can accumulate 400 points, which are distributed as follows:

Class Participation (40%) 
Blog Entries                                 7.5         (30 pts.)
Reading Quizzes                       12.5%      (50 pts.)
Discussion Boards                      2.5          (10 pts.)
Reader Responses                      10%       (40 pts.)
Presentation                               7.5%       (30 pts.)

Essays (60%)
Essay 1                                     10%     (40 pts)
Essay 2                                     20%     (80 pts.)
Final Exam                              30%     (120 pts.)

Final Grades:

360 - 400 A

320 - 359 B

280 - 319 C

240 - 279 D

  0 - 239 F


Taking classes is your job here at the university. Thus, you should treat the work and requirements accordingly. In the workplace things such as absences, tardiness, and not doing your work properly have negative consequences. This is the case in my class as well. Many students’ low grades are a result of not following directions or policies as well as not expending enough effort. It is your responsibility to be aware of the policies on this syllabus. If you miss class it is your responsibility to check with your classmates to find out what you have missed. And though you are always welcome to follow up with me if you are absent, do not ask me if you “missed anything important.”

Your grade is dependent on a number of factors that, together and holistically, inform the evaluation and assessment of your performance. In summary, these criteria include attendance, participation, reading responses/journal entries, reading quizzes, discussion questions, a presentation, and the successful completion of any other reading and written assignments.

Note: The reading load is quite heavy and the pace fast. Also, because writing is a means of discovery and a pathway to understanding, it is an important activity in this class in conjunction with the reading. Indeed, you should think of your writing as a mode of reading that will help you begin to understand the literature at hand. When essays, journals, and in-class assignments are considered together you will be doing some kind of writing assignment every week. Be prepared to spend much time carefully reading, considering, discussing, and writing about the texts in the course. If you cannot devote the time necessary to keep up with the assignments, and to do so in a critical manner, you will not do well in this class and may want to consider if this is the right class for you.

PLAGIARISM: All course assignments ask you to write using what you have learned in the course and using your own thinking and writing skills. If you use any ideas, paraphrases, or exact wording from a source other than yourself (including the textbook), you must document the source using MLA parenthetical documentation style (see handbook or ask instructor). Any source used but not documented will be considered plagiarism, for which you will receive a failing grade for the course. You might also be placed on probation or expelled from the university. If you have any questions about plagiarism, ask before you act. Ask me; see Best Practices for Avoiding Plagiarism.


A. Plagiarism, a SERIOUS, academic violation, which can lead to an F for the course, is the use of WORDS, IDEAS, or STRUCTURES of others (published sources, friends, relatives) without acknowledgment. There is no excuse for willful plagiarism.
B. Except where appropriate (quoting or paraphrasing from primary or secondary sources), your work is presumed to be totally your own writing (i.e. original).
C. When you QUOTE OR PARAPHRASE FROM ANY sources, you MUST cite them with appropriate specific documentation (usually author and page number in parentheses + Works Cited list at end). This includes subject matter of the essay. If you quote or paraphrase precisely from a work of literature, you must cite the author of that work.  
D. If you do not understand the format for documenting sources, see me for help before turning in an essay. Refer to your handbook for further clarification.
For other questions about plagiarism see The Correct Use of Borrowed 

TURNITIN.COM: All major essays written for this course must be submitted electronically to no later than class time on the date that an assignment is due. Essays that are not uploaded to will not be accepted. 

SMARTHINKING TUTOR:  Students are required to submit each draft of an essay assignment to the Smartthinking tutor for feedback and are expected to use that information to revise each essay assignment.   If a student fails to do so, they will lose one letter grade per each assignment not submitted to the tutor.  See the Smarthinking link in Ulearn for submission details.

SUBMITTING COURSE ASSIGNMENTS:  You are required to electronically submit all assignments to Ulearn or a blog for this course.  Assignments not submitted in the manner will not be accepted.  Any items sent by email will be deleted.

ATTENDANCE: Students are expected to attend all classes and earn credit for complete classes and in-class assignments. You are allowed two absences (excused or unexcused) without penalty. Five absences (excused or unexcused) will result in automatic failure. If you do not attend a student conference, you will be considered absent. After two absences your final grade for the semester will be reduced as shown.
You are responsible for tracking your absences.

Absences        Points deducted from final grade
  3                                           40

  4                                         100

  5                                         200


It is the student’s responsibility to initiate procedures leading to a formal withdrawal (“WP” or "WF) in order to avoid a failing (“F”) grade. To receive a WP OR WF grade, a student must withdraw prior to January 22, 2016. In order to qualify for a WP, the student must have an estimated grade of 60 or higher at the time of withdrawal. If the estimated grade is less than 60, the student will be issued a WF, which is entered into the term and cumulative GPA as a failing grade until successul completion of the course at a later date.

TARDIES: If a student is more than 10 minutes late for class or leaves more than 10 minutes before class is over, they are counted absent for the day. 

ETIQUETTE: Students are expected to respect their classmates’ time and learning environment. Therefore, show up for class prepared and on time. ALL CELL PHONES SHOULD BE SET TO SILENT BEFORE ENTERING THE CLASSROOM. Each time a cell phone disrupts class the entire class will take a pop quiz. Also, if a student leaves the classroom to answer a call, they will be counted absent for the day and not allowed back in the classroom that day. Other disruptive classroom behavior, defined as anything that would interfere with “an instructor’s ability to conduct the class” or “The ability of other students to profit from the instructional program,” is strictly prohibited.


NOTE: Persons other than registered students are not allowed to attend academic sessions, laboratory classes, computer labs, and other University academically supported areas.

LATE PAPER/ASSIGNMENT POLICY: Turn in all your assignments on their scheduled due dates. You must submit the final drafts of all essays and their associated process work (critique, reflection, etc.) in Blackboard. NO PROCESS, NO GRADE. Keep a duplicate copy of all assignments you turn in and save all of your files in several locations (flash drive, hard drive, email, etc.). I DO NOT ACCEPT LATE PAPERS.

REVISION: You may rewrite one failing essay (original grade of D or F); the rewritten essay may receive no higher than a “C.” Revision must accompany the original graded copy.

GRADED ESSAYS: All essays for this course are graded electronically. Please see the Turnitin Grademark Feedback video for instructions to obtain the comments and grading rubric for your essay. 

STUDENT E-MAIL: Students are required to obtain and use a JWU e-mail account for University communication and to access my public folders. You must obtain your password to do so. Student accounts are created automatically for those who are active and in good standing. Student email addresses are available through Immediately contact the helpdesk at 1-866-598-4357 if you need assistance. Take care of this the first day of class. Students are expected to maintain an email account throughout the semester and check it daily for important information regarding upcoming assignments, course announcements, etc.

IN-CLASS ASSIGNMENTS: Students will often complete in-class assignments and short writing projects. In-class projects and quizzes are team-based and scheduled for a specific class period and cannot be made up after that class date.

WORKSHOPS: All essays will be critiqued by peer groups in class. Essays without workshop response will drop one full letter grade.

PARTICIPATION: Come to class prepared to discuss the assigned readings. Contribute productively to discussion. Quizzes and in-class writings are usually based on the readings.


WRITING CENTER: Located in the academic building, 4th floor, the writing center is open to all Johnson & Wales University students who need help with writing, whether they are taking an English course or not. Students are encouraged to seek assistance with essays, research projects, and related assignments. Students are asked to make an appointment with a Writing Center staff member in order to receive prompt assistance. The center provides 30 minute appointments and is staffed from 8:30-2:30 M-R. Consultants work with students on any part of the writing process -- planning, drafting, focusing, organizing, revising, or editing, and with papers from all disciplines. Please do not hesitate to use the tutor’s assistance. Remember to bring a copy of your assignment and your drafts to any Writing Center conference.
Going to the Writing Center does not guarantee you a good grade because tutors will not proofread your papers. The Writing Center’s goal is to improve your overall writing skills (organization, thesis & supporting paragraphs, audience/assignment issues, as well as teaching punctuation and grammar rules after reviewing big picture issues), which sometimes takes several sessions, depending on your existing writing skills. For more information, you may contact them at [email protected]
You may also visit the Center for Academic Support website at:

ACCOMMODATIONS: Johnson & Wales University is dedicated to providing access to education. While maintaining the highest academic integrity, the University strives to balance scholarship with support services which will assist special needs students in functioning in the University's academic environment. Reasonable accommodations are available with proper documentation, and can be discussed with the director of The Center For Academic Support (4th floor of the Academic Building).
Because some programs of study have technical standards and requirements, applicants and students with special needs or physical disabilities should contact the director of the Center for Academic Support to discuss the availability of reasonable accommodations where appropriate. Copies of the technical standards applicable to various programs are available from this office. Once you have arranged accommodations with this office, please tell me so that I am aware of your accommodations well before the first paper/assignment.

A FINAL NOTE: I want you to use your time and effort as positively as possible, to read and write about topics relevant to your personal and academic interests. Whenever possible, I will encourage you to learn and write about all the other subjects you are taking. If at any time you have a question about your writing, please talk to me after class, at my office, or via email.