Course Policies

Learning Objectives

The First-Year Seminar (FYS) introduces students to Dickinson as a “community of inquiry” by developing habits of mind essential to liberal learning. Through the study of a compelling issue or broad topic chosen by their faculty member, students will:

  • critically analyze information and ideas in the texts we discuss;
  • examine issues from multiple perspectives;
  • discuss, debate and defend ideas, including one’s own views, with clarity and reason;
  • learn to find, evaluate, and correctly incorporate outside sources so as to avoid plagiarism;
  • create clear academic writing.


Seminar attendance is strictly required.  Students may request to be excused for missed sessions under certain circumstances (for illness, family emergency, etc.) by sending an email to Prof. Pinsker –in advance whenever possible.  There is never any need to obtain an “excuse” from someone else (parent, nurse, coach, etc.).  However, not all requests for excuses will be honored.  More than one unexcused absence will result in a reduction in participation grades.  Repeated unexcused absences can result in course failure.  The same holds true for repeated lateness.  One or two “late” entries to seminar will be excused, but students who show up late for seminar more than twice will find that showing up late counts as an unexcused absence.

Academic Integrity Tutorial

Required of all First-Year, International and Transfer Students

DEADLINE:  Monday, September 22, 2014 at 8:00 a.m.

All incoming Dickinson students are required to complete the Academic Integrity tutorial posted on Moodle.  Students who do not complete this instruction will not be able to request classes during the spring course request period.


  • Logon to Moodle (through the college Gateway).
  • Select the course entitled “Academic Integrity Tutorial.”
  • Once in the course, click on the link to the tutorial, “I Thought I Could Get Away with It.”
  • Follow the instructions carefully.  All questions must be completed to get credit for the tutorial.

Writing Center Visit

All students in the seminar MUST visit the Norman M. Eberly Multilingual Writing Center at least once before October 24, 2014.  Writers of all levels and abilities need feedback in order to develop their ideas and grow as writers.  Dickinson’s trained writing tutors can help you generate ideas, begin drafting, revise a rough draft, figure out your professor’s preferred documentation style, understand and respond to professor feedback, edit your writing – among other things.  You can walk in or call and make an appointment at (717) 245-1620 (or 245-1767 for foreign language writing).  For more information about hours and procedures, visit the web:


No personal electronic devices such as phones, tablets or laptops can be used in this seminar except in rare cases with special permission in advance from Prof. Pinsker.

Accommodations for Disabilities

Dickinson College makes reasonable academic accommodations for students with documented disabilities. Students requesting accommodations must make their request and provide appropriate documentation to Disability Services in Biddle House. Because classes change every semester, eligible students must obtain a new accommodation letter from Director Marni Jones every semester and review this letter with their professors so the accommodations can be implemented. The Director of Disability Services is available by appointment to answer questions and discuss any implementation issues you may have. Disability Services proctoring is managed by Susan Frommer at 717-254-8107 or Address general inquiries to Stephanie Anderberg at 717-245-1734 or e-mail


All student course work for this seminar can be kept entirely private using the publishing protocols of WordPress.  Students who want to work on an assignment without having Prof. Pinsker peering over their shoulder just need to save their posts as DRAFT.  He won’t look at your draft posts. When you are ready to submit an assignment, however, or when you want to have Prof. Pinsker review your work prior to submitting, then just set the visibility on your post as PRIVATE.  Prof. Pinsker will then evaluate your work and consider making it public.  If he publishes your post, it will appear in search engines and get pushed to the History Department Facebook page.  If you don’t want a particular post to be considered for publication, simply opt-out by including this statement at the top:  NOT FOR PUBLICATION.


From Dickinson College Community Standards (adopted 2006):

To plagiarize is to use without proper citation or acknowledgment the words, ideas, or work of another.  Plagiarism is a form of cheating that refers to several types of unacknowledged borrowing.

  • The most serious degree of plagiarism involves the wholesale and deceptive borrowing of written material from sources such as published authors, web sites, other students, or paper-for-hire services.  Students who submit papers or significant sections of papers that they did not write themselves are committing this type of violation.


  • Another serious degree of plagiarism involves less wholesale but still repeated and inappropriate borrowing from outside sources.  In some of these cases, students borrow several phrases or sentences from others, and do so without both quotation marks and proper attributions.  In other cases, students secretly collaborate on assignments in defiance of specific prohibitions outlined by their instructor.


  • Finally, there is a degree of plagiarism that involves the borrowing of specific words or phrases without quotation marks. In such cases, citations may be present, but they are inadequate. This problem most commonly occurs when students paraphrase sources by attempting to change a few words in a sentence or brief series of sentences.  It can also occur when students rely too heavily on parents or friends for ideas or phrases which they mistakenly claim as their own.