Environmental Philosophy (INTD 425)

Manchester University, Spring 2020    Instructor: Steve Naragon

Course Requirements

Readings.  Read the assignments closely prior to class (see the Schedule), and always bring the text.  Class discussions and your success in this class depend upon this.  If you are not willing to commit yourself to this, then it would be best for you to withdraw from the course.

Attendance and Participation.  A course on philosophy is by its nature aimed at self-examination and discussion; consequently, taking the class requires being there.  Thus the following policy: Five absences (excused or otherwise) are allowed.  After that, each additional absence (of any kind) results in a 1% drop in course grade.

Cell Phones. No Cell Phones! I feel like I’m pushing against an irresistable tide, but I really do not want you to have your cell phones out while in the classroom – not in your hand, not in your lap, not on the desk, preferably buried in a backpack.

This class involves listening closely to, and thinking carefully about, what others are saying, a focused discussion is supposed to take place in this classroom, and none of that is possible if you are staring at your cell phone.

Many people are now quite literally addicted to their phones. If the phone is within reach it will be reached and checked and used about every five minutes on average (and that’s just averaging over a 17 hour waking day; peak usage can involve checking the phone every few seconds).

I understand that sometimes you are looking up important information with your phone; that’s admirable, but probably not necessary. Just write down the question or topic, and look it up later. That’s what we all used to do “in the old days,” and it worked pretty well.

If you are going to attend class, then please turn off your phone.


Laptops and iPads. The occasional student will take notes best with a keyboard and computer, but most students are unable to use their computers without compulsively checking Facebook, email, and otherwise surfing the web. This is bad for the student, of course, but it is especially unfair to those sitting nearby, who can be distracted by the unrelated material glowing from your screen. Unless you have a documented disability that requires the use of a laptop or tablet, prepare to take notes the old fashioned way, with paper and pencil.

Why the "No Laptop" policy? Research indicates that taking notes on a laptop (i.e., typing your notes) generally results in notes inferior to those written by hand, and you are also less likely to retain the information. If you don't believe me, read this item from the Scientific American (June 3, 2014) or this from the Association for Psychological Science (April 24, 2014).

In other words, even if you don't let the computer distract you from the classroom discussion, you'll still be taking notes that are worth less than if you wrote them by hand.

Discussion Forums. There are four discussion forums, each of which will require one post and two comments from you. The posts should be from 500-600 words, and the comments from 100-150 words (see Canvas for further instruction). These will be completed on Canvas.

Daily Paragraphs. A daily paragraph will be due each class session, at least 30 minutes before the beginning of class [rubric]. These will be completed on the appropriate “Discussion” page on Canvas. See the Writing page for more information.  [Late: Paragraphs submitted after the beginning of class will be counted as late (with a 0.5 point reduction) but still accepted until the close of that day, i.e., midnight.]

Quizzes. About every other class will begin with a brief quiz on the reading or topic for the day. These brief exercises help keep me informed of your comprehension of the material, and should help you keep up with the reading during the semester. Because you are allowed to use your reading notes when taking these quizzes, this should also offer some motivation to take good notes while reading.

The quizzes are worth a significant portion of the course grade because every student coming to class prepared to discuss the material is a significant part of the course.  [Makeup: Missed quizzes due to an excused absence can be made up in my office before the next class meeting; arrangements for this is your responsibility.]

Exams. There will be three non-cumulative in-class essay exams over the class discussions, readings, and material presented in class.  [Makeup: Exams missed due to an excused absence are to be taken as soon as possible or else will be forfeited.  It is your responsibility to see me about this.]

Grading. The set of three exams is worth 45% (15% per exam), the set of daily paragraphs are 25%, quizzes are 10%, discussion forums are 10%, and the mini research project is 10% of the course grade.

I use the following letter grade conversion scale: A (94-100), A- (90-93), B+ (87-89), B (83-86), B- (80-82), C+ (77-79), C (73-76), C- (70-72), D+ (67-69), D (63-66), D-(60-62), F (0-59).

When life happens… If circumstances in your life occur that affect your performance in class (e.g., childcare issues, unreliable transportation, a sick grandparent, expected recurring absences for any reason), you should talk to me and to your other professors immediately. We can figure something out.

[The following material comes to you courtesy of the University Administration]

Academic Support. Manchester University has a commitment to the success of its students; therefore, the Success Center services will serve you well! Whether you are in the honors program, need a little help getting started with an essay, or need some extensive tutoring for a math class, familiarize yourself with the Success Center on the second floor of the Switzer Center!

Student Disability and Reasonable Accommodation Policy. Manchester University, in compliance with federal guidelines, is committed to assuring students with disabilities equal access to programs and activities however, it is the student’s responsibility to self-disclose the disability. Students who feel they may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact Mia Miller, the Disability Support Coordinator, to establish eligibility and to coordinate reasonable accommodations. Students whose accommodation requests are approved will be provided with confidential letters to deliver to their professors. Each letter verifies the disability and documents the need for auxiliary aids and services and/or academic adjustments/accommodations. Students are encouraged to meet with each professor early in the semester to discuss academic implications as they relate to each specific course and to request appropriate accommodation. The Disability Support Services office is in the Success Center (second floor of the Jo Young Switzer Center) and can be reached by phone at 260-982-5888 or 260-982-5499 to schedule an appointment.

Medical Emergency/Evacuation Assistance Statement. Students should speak to the instructor immediately if (1) they may require medical attention during class, or (2) they have a disability, chronic condition, or a temporary injury that may limit or affect their ability to evacuate the classroom/building in an emergency. The student and the instructor should discuss the student’s specific needs and the types of precautions that should be made in advance of such an event. In the event of a fire or other situation requiring emergency evacuation, students with ambulatory disabilities are to go with or without assistance to the nearest stairwell area. Faculty and staff will assist with evacuation management efforts until such time as the Campus Safety and/or Police and Fire Departments arrive on the scene to assist in student evacuation from the building. Elevators are not to be used for evacuation by any persons.

Students who need special arrangements in the event of an evacuation should also register with Mia Miller in the Success Center as early as possible in the semester to help facilitate the provision of needed emergency assistance.

Sexual Misconduct Reporting Requirement. Manchester University is committed to fostering a safe community where the infinite worth of all individuals is respected. Title IX and institutional policy prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex and gender identity. Consequently, sexual misconduct— including harassment, domestic and dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking — is also prohibited at Manchester. Faculty, staff and administrators encourage anyone experiencing sexual misconduct, dating/domestic violence, or stalking to talk to someone about what happened, so they can get the support they need and Manchester University can respond appropriately.

Individuals who wish to file a report of sexual misconduct should contact the Title IX Coordinator (260-982-5721) or/and Manchester University Campus Safety (260-982-5999) or/and go online to submit a Report it form.

On campus Confidential resources:

MU Counseling Services (260-982-5888)

MU Health Services (260-982-5306)

MU Campus Pastor (260-982-5243)

North Manchester Campus Victim Advocate (260-563-4407)

CARE Initiative (260-982-5027)

Off-campus resources:

Hands of Hope (Service to North Manchester Campus-24/7 Hotline 260-563-4407)

Fort Wayne Sexual Violence Treatment Center (Service to both Fort Wayne & North Manchester Campuses-24/7 Hotline 260-423-2222)

YWCA of Northeast Indiana (Domestic Violence & Sexual Violence: 260-447-7233)

To make a police report, contact the North Manchester Police Department (260-982-8555) or Fort Wayne Police Department (260-472-1222).

For questions about institutional policies and procedures regarding sexual misconduct, please contact the Title IX Coordinator.

Learn more about Title IX and survivor support at the following websites:



**Manchester University strives to uphold privacy and confidentiality as much as possible and only shares information received with those who have a need to know in order to respond. Individuals who desire anonymity in discussing and seeking assistance about sexual misconduct should contact and/or be referred to a confidential employee.**

Manchester University   //    Registrar   //    Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies    //    Last updated: 23 Jan 2020