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The Dixie Forum: LLS 1000R: Dixie Forum Course Syllabus

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Course Syllabus

Course Philosophy & Methodology: Critical Thinking & Life Experiences:

Increasingly the concept of "critical thinking" has come under attack in American political culture, opponents arguing that being exposed to diverse ideas is intended to indoctrinate students or to undermine traditional values. This course assumes the opposite perspective; exposure to alternative ideas typically reinforces personal values while also deepening a student's sense of empathy within the human experience. As the Greek philosopher Aristotle once said, “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” This course's philosophy is rooted in a number of premises:

  • Active citizenship and active learning often requires an understanding of a broad base of ideas and people
  • Humans have more in common then they typically recognize and can learn much from each other
  • The strength of American democracy lies in education, discussion, and diversity
  • There is something innately valuable in learning about other people's life experiences and the knowledge they possess


Student Expectations:

Students are expected to be in the Dunford Auditorium in the Browning Building by noon on the days of The Dixie Forum and are expected to remain until the presentation is over at 12:50 p.m.. Rudeness will NOT be tolerated and may result in immediate expulsion from the class meeting and/or the course at the professor's discretion. PLEASE MUTE ALL DEVICES! Students must come to class on time, take notes (on paper), and remain in class until the end of the session. During class students should be polite to one another and the presenting speaker. Rudeness includes (but is not limited to) computer usage, laughing, note passing, passively sitting, sleeping, talking, cell phone disturbances, and texting. While talking during presentations is discouraged, questions are highly encouraged at the appropriate times.

Mandatory Orientation:

Students are require to attend a mandatory orientation on Tuesday, August 20 from 12:00 p.m. - 12:50 p.m. in the Dunford Auditorium (Browning Building) on campus. Don't be late! Roll will be taken and credit for attending (30 points toward Final Grade).


Course Evaluation:

Student evaluation will be based upon the number of presentations attended at The Dixie Forum and written observations (Reflection Papers, see below.) In addition to attendance at all 12 forums, students must also attend and write about one outside cultural activity on their own. These cultural events might include things on campus or in the St. George community. These activities might include a concert, a play, or an art exhibit. Failure to complete the cultural event and submit its resulting paper will impact your grade significantly (not reflected in grade scale below).

Mandatory Attendance:

You are required to attend all 12 forums as that is your "class time" for this course. There will be an attendance sheet with me at each forum. You are responsible to find me after each form and sign the sheet before leaving the auditorium. You must select 8 of the 12 forums to write papers on. Details on requirements for each paper is below.

Grades will be based on the following general criteria:

A: 12 Forums Attended, 1 Cultural Event Attended, 8 Excellent Papers, 1 Excellent Cultural Event Paper
A-: 12 Forums Attended, 1 Cultural Event Attended, 8 Good Papers, 1 Good Cultural Event Paper
B+: 10 Forums Attended, 1 Cultural Event Attended, 8 Papers, 1 Cultural Event Paper
B: 10 Forums Attended, 1 Cultural Event Attended, 8 Papers, 1 Cultural Event Paper
B-: 10 Forums Attended, 1 Cultural Event Attended, 8 Papers, 1 Cultural Event Paper
C+: 8 Forums Attended, 1 Cultural Event Attended, 7 Papers, 1 Cultural Event Paper
C: 8 Forums Attended, 1 Cultural Event Attended, 6 Papers, 1 Cultural Event Paper
C-: 7 Forums Attended, 1 Cultural Event Attended, 6 Papers, 1 Cultural Event Paper
D+: 6 Forums Attended, 1 Cultural Event Attended, 5 Papers, 1 Cultural Event Paper
D: 4 Forums Attended, 1 Cultural Event Attended, 4 Papers, 1 Cultural Event Paper
D-: 1-2 Forums Attended, 1 Cultural Event Attended, 1 Papers, 1 Cultural Event Paper
F: 0 Forums Attended, 0 Cultural Event Attended, 0 Papers, 0 Cultural Event Paper

PLEASE NOTE: The Canvas Gradebook will only show your scores for papers you submit that have been graded. It will also calculate a total percentage for the papers you have submitted that have been graded. Your final grade however, is based on the information provided above. Also, you may not use any of the 12 regular forums as a replacement for the required outside cultural event that you are required to do on your own. The instructor reserves the right to edit this syllabus based on the needs of the course each semester.


Reflection Papers:

Students must write a 600-800 word reflection paper (doc or docx only, double-spaced, 12 point Times or Times New Roman font) corresponding to each of their attendances at Dixie Forum presentations and cultural events. These exercises are not formal writing assignments where grading is based on grammar or structural mistakes; instead, students are expected to actively engage themselves in the presentation & provide thoughtful reflections on what they found interesting. Reflection papers must be submitted electronically via Canvas the Monday following each presentation at 11:59 p.m. to receive full credit. Students have until Tuesday, December 10 (11:59 p.m.) to submit any late papers at reduced credit. The later the submission past the due date the more credit that is lost. The outside cultural event paper is due by Tuesday, December 10 (11:59 p.m.). It is highly recommended that you attend and complete the cultural event paper assignment as soon as possible early in the semester.

Please note: While the writing assignments in this course are fairly informal, students still must write well. If you struggle with writing, please visit the Writing Center in the Holland Building. Furthermore, if you use outside sources to supplement your paper, you must have a formal bibliography in the MLA citation style. Please visit me in the library (HCC 243) if you need help doing this as you will lose points if not done properly and may run the risk of plagiarism. Examples of sources you may want to use, outside of the lecture itself, might include a blog the guest lecturer maintains, their web site, or a book they have written.

Below you will find two PDF files of former student work. They are examples of what I am looking for and both received full points (10 out of 10). In other words, these are examples for you of "A" level work. If you would like to look at them to help guide you as you write your own papers please use the links below. One is from a Dixie Forum and the other is an outside Cultural Event.


Institutional Policies:


If you are a student with a documented physical or mental impairment that will substantially limit a major life activity, please contact the Disability Resource Center on the main campus. The Center Coordinator and staff will assist you in analyzing your eligibility for services. If you are deemed eligible, reasonable accommodations that are appropriate for your disability will be assigned. If you have any questions concerning this process, please contact the Center at (435) 652-7516 or go to the Disability Center in the North Plaza Building.

Title IX:

DSU seeks to provide an environment that is free of bias, discrimination, and harassment. If you have been the victim of sexual harassment/misconduct/assault we encourage you to report this to the college's Title IX Director, Cindy Cole, (435) 652-7731, cindy.cole@dixie.edu. If you report to a faculty member, she or he must notify the Title IX Director about the basic facts of the incident.

Subject Guide

John Burns's picture
John Burns
Holland Building 243