Frequently asked (FAQ)

May I have an override into an economics class?
You’ve come to the right person, because as department head I do have override authority (faculty members in the economics department do not). Here’s the procedure, laid out in full.

May I have an excuse from the upcoming test?
Excuses are based entirely on the syllabus for your class, so check with your professor. I will not intervene in decisions like that except in extraordinary circumstances. For those in my personally taught classes: You will receive an excused absence if you notify me of any of the following circumstances in time:

  1. your own illness
  2. a family emergency
  3. a University-sponsored trip
  4. a religious holiday

For any other reason, you are in grave danger of getting a score of zero for an unexcused absence.

What if I’m in your class and I don’t notify you, and decide at the end of the semester that I would like an excused absence?
For any absence: If 24 hours elapse from the time of your absence without communication about the reason, then the absence is recorded as “unexcused” no matter what the reason. That means you get a grade of zero for the test.

How are excused absences made up in your classes?
If you miss one of the tests for an excused reason, the weight of your final examination will be increased as a makeup.

May I take your tests early or late instead?
No. If you miss one of the tests for an excused reason, the weight of your final examination will be increased as a makeup.

What’s the best way to notify you of an excused absence?
Email is the best. It provides a record of your communication, what time it was sent, and what time it was received.

In your classes, do you give final exams early for those who would like to leave JMU early?
Never.

What’s the assignment in our class?
Readings and assignments are posted on Canvas. I always make the reading assignments the landing page, so it should be the first thing you see when you go to the course.

What do you mean by “gentle simulations of reality”?
The world outside the university is a demanding place. I would do you a disservice if I conveyed the opposite message — that the world outside the university will affirm you even if you do poor work and you don’t deliver on time. Still, this is a learning environment. Therefore in my classes I use consistently enforced incentives to reward those who do good work and deliver on time. There are also consistently enforced, but gentle, penalties for those who don’t. Example: If you sleep through an important meeting or presentation in a career job, there will be severe consequences. In my classes, if you sleep through a test and report late, there are hourly penalties. It is a simulation of reality, but a gentle one.

In addition to being a demanding place, the world outside the university is a rewarding place. There are so many opportunities open to you! Think on that happy note and resolve that you will go out and take full advantage of those opportunities — and not miss them by sleeping too late.