Standards & policies

General Assignment Policies & Procedures

Public relations is a demanding and highly competitive profession, especially in today’s turbulent media environment. To succeed, practitioners must meet high standards of excellence in writing, strategic thinking, ability to apply complex concepts to practical situations, and meeting tight deadlines. I hold students in this class to similarly high standards, to help them adjust to the expectations of employers and clients.


Unless explicitly stated otherwise, all submitted work must be typed. Assignment instructions will specify whether an electronic or hard copy is required in each instance, as well as the factors taken into account in grading written assignments. APA 6th edition guidelines should be used for references and citations where necessary.


Students will be held to professional standards for their submitted work and classroom behavior. Public relations is a deadline-driven field, and thus all deadlines are non-negotiable to accurately reflect the realities of professional practice. Late work will be penalized by one full letter grade for every day beyond the stated due date. The penalty begins immediately after the deadline, so that an assignment turned in later on the same day will still be reduced by one letter grade.

Amnesty Day

Sometimes, life events or miscommunications legitimately interfere with our work regardless of our intentions and best efforts. And the purpose of this course is to help you learn the concepts and skills you need to be successful, which also means learning from mistakes. I believe that life does, occasionally, offer second chances. Therefore, you will have one opportunity this semester to repeat an assignment you did not do well on, or make up one you missed. Exams and in-class assignments are not eligible for amnesty. If you are repeating an assignment to try to improve your work, the original submission, with my comments, must be attached to your new version. See the course calendar in the syllabus for the date chosen for Amnesty Day.

What I expect from your work

Grades will be calculated and assessed according to the criteria stated below. A “C” reflects adequate performance, meeting the minimum terms of the assignment but without exhibiting the degree of technical proficiency and/or critical thinking expected at this stage of your academic career. Good work that satisfies college-level expectations for an assignment earns in the “B” range. An “A” grade is reserved for obviously exceptional work. Your performance will determine your final grade in this course.


Percentage Score Description
A+ 99-100% Exemplary
A 95-98% Excellent
A- 90-94%
B+ 87-89% Very Good
B 84-86% Good
B- 80-83% Satisfactory
C+ 77-79%
C 73-76% Adequate
(Minimum required for credit toward major )
C- 70-72% Minimally Adequate
D+ 67-69%
D 63-66% Pass
D- 60-62% Minimal Pass
F Fail


The best ways to contact me are via email, or to visit my office during office hours. You do not need an appointment to stop by during the posted hours. I will also make every effort to be available for meetings at other times if your schedule does not permit you to attend office hours. Since I’m teaching both downtown and in Tempe this semester, you may need to have some flexibility when it comes to the location and timing of meetings.


Please include “JMC310” in the subject line of any emails. You will be expected to use your ASU email for all correspondence. In keeping with the nature of the course, please keep communication professional.


This  WordPress site ( hosts the primary location of the syllabus and classroom policies, which will be kept up to date electronically. In the event of a discrepancy between the online syllabus and any PDF or hard copy version, requirements stated in the online syllabus should be considered more correct and accurate. This site also contains all assignments, links to online readings, and other resources for the class. Announcements, changes and updates will be provided via the blog, which you should add to your RSS reader and check frequently for updates.


For this class, Blackboard is used primarily for grade tracking and submitting electronic assignments. Some materials will also be made available for download, particularly those in PDF format not accessible online. The WordPress site will note when materials are posted to BlackBoard.

Additional resources will frequently be posted to my Delicious account ( You will be best able to take advantage of these resources if you create your own free account, which will then allow you to easily save readings for future reference and study.


Public relations practitioners need to be comfortable working in all media environments, from traditional formats to social media. Students in this class will be expected to have and use a Twitter account, and to regularly monitor the #JMC310 channel for links, questions and answers about assignments, and other relevant conversations.

Classroom demeanor

Attendance and Participation

You are expected to attend and actively participate in every class meeting. You are allowed a total of TWO ABSENCES without direct penalty (although see below about in-class work). Subsequent absences, or repeated tardiness (or leaving early) will result in the deduction of ONE FULL LETTER GRADE. Quizzes and in-class assignments may be given without prior notice and at any point in the class period. You will not be permitted to make up in-class work, and the final exam is based to a significant extent on material covered in lectures and class discussions that may not be included in the readings. Treat this class just as you would any professional commitment.


Behave professionally at all times: arrive punctually; refrain from eating in class. Treat your instructor and other classmates with professional courtesy. Cell phone conversations, text messaging, emailing, or personal use of social media will not be tolerated while class is in session. Do not move around the classroom during lectures, class discussions, or presentations.

Special Needs

If you are a student with special needs, such as those covered under the Americans With Disabilities Act, please contact me early in the semester, and get in touch with the Disability Resource Center immediately. They can establish your eligibility for special accommodations such as note-taking or alternative testing conditions. Contact them by calling (602) 496-4321 or visit

Cronkite School and ASU Policies

Diversity Principles

The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication practices inclusivity in student, staff and faculty populations in order to create an academic environment that embraces diversity of thought and acceptance of all people regardless of race, gender, age, sexual orientation or societal, political, cultural, economic, spiritual or physical differences.

To this end, the school directs efforts to the following four principles:

  • Actively seek out and encourage diverse populations to become productive members of the faculty, staff and the student body.
  • Create and maintain a work, learning and social environment that is cognizant and supportive of a diversity of human differences and beliefs.
  • Incorporate within the formal content of the curriculum and in each course an affirmation of the core journalistic values of accuracy, fairness, ethical behavior and sensitivity when reflecting an increasingly multicultural world.
  • Foster and support a climate in which events and activities of the school reflect diversity of awareness, sensitivity to and support for people of different origins, orientations and abilities.

Academic integrity, plagiarism, and client confidentiality

Academic dishonesty in any form will not be tolerated in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

The crux of our democracy is the ability of citizens to obtain honest, truthful and balanced information, and the credibility and integrity of the individual journalist and communications professional are crucial in that effort.

As the mission of the Cronkite School is to prepare students to become journalists and communication professionals, that credibility and integrity will be fostered within the educational environment of the school. To that end, a zero tolerance policy toward academic dishonesty will be enforced within every course and educational activity offered or sanctioned by the school.

Any allegations of academic dishonesty will automatically be referred to the Standards Committee of the school for review and recommendation to the dean of the school. If any student is found by the committee to have engaged in academic dishonesty in any form – including but not limited to cheating, plagiarizing and fabricating – that student shall receive a grade of XE for the class and will be dismissed from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication. Reinstatement will not be considered. There will be no exceptions.

Please consult the Cronkite School’s definitions and policy of plagiarism, available online at Make sure you understand it, as you will be required to abide by its terms for your work in this class.

You will also be required to read and electronically sign the Cronkite School Academic Integrity pledge. This assignment will be posted to the class Blackboard site, and must be completed by the date indicated in the syllabus. Although it is worth zero points, you will not be permitted to continue in the course without signing this pledge, per Cronkite School rules.