A Note on Irregular Submission of Work in Fantasy & Science Fiction

Our syllabus is clear: "Each [shorter] paper is due at the beginning of class on the day a given book is to have been read. Late papers usually will be unacceptable and early papers are strongly discouraged because your attendance in class is expected." Our syllabus also says, "Deadlines for the Longer Paper proposals to be accepted and signed are on the course calendar as are the deadlines for submitting the Longer Papers. Longer Papers may be submitted early if your section leader agrees. Late submissions will be acceptable only in extraordinary circumstances and with acceptable documentation of those circumstances." Despite these statements, students sometimes ask in general about alternative ways to submit a paper and/or extensions for paper or proposal submission. This note provides a response to most of those requests.

If you have an emergency reason to need to submit work late, I ask you to document that reason. For example, if you are in an auto accident on the way to class, a copy of the police report will make that clear. Alternative submission methods make sense, even though they undercut class attendance, if you have a predictable and unavoidable conflict, for example, if you have an out-of-town job interview when our class meets. Again, I ask for documentation. Please also understand that documentation alone does not excuse an absence. Your GSI and/or I will make a judgment about that based on our discussion with you and, if you provide it, examination of your documentation. For example, if you have a job interview in Chicago on a Monday afternoon and decide you'll make a long weekend of the trip, returning to Ann Arbor on Wednesday, we certainly won't excuse that Tuesday absence even though you may present an air ticket receipt indicating that you were away from Friday through Wednesday. Job interviews simply don't take that many days. If they do, the employer's letter scheduling the interview should make that clear, in which case you would be allowed to submit your work on the preceding Thursday or by fax to the English Department (indicating your GSI as recipient) before 4:10 Eastern Time on its due date. You still would not be allowed to submit that paper late. Where you have no documentation, we will consider matters case by case. In the case of a job interview, without documentation, your absence will not be excused. If you tell us you had a twelve-hour bout of gastric distress that never motivated you to visit the Health Service, we will sympathize but will count that absence, too, as unexcused.

In relation to the shorter papers, please remember that the course regulations build in the opportunity to miss four of the shorter papers and still earn an A by making sure that two of those four are focal works for the longer papers. Being able to miss 4/13 of the submissions without penalty seems to me quite ample. If illness or some other unavoidable condition forces you to miss even more than that, surely it can be documented and discussed.

In relation to the longer papers, an extension can sometimes be granted under extreme extenuating circumstances. In most instances, these circumstances will need to be documented and the extension will be the for the shortest length of time possible to submit the work appropriately.

Incompletes are almost never granted, although if you have only your second longer paper left to submit and can foresee an unavoidable condition that you believe would warrant an Incomplete, please discuss it, with documentation, with your GSI.

If you have a compelling reason to present to your GSI for any late or alternate submission, of course you should discuss that with him or her; if not, you should either submit your work when and as asked or simply not submit it. That latter choice is yours. If you make that choice because of an undocumentable short-term illness--or for any other reason; we don't intend to monitor your life outside the course--I remind you that you are welcome to visit me in my office to review my notes. Our commitment to your participation and learning will never diminish just because at some point, for whatever reason, you may not or cannot participate as fully as we hope you will.