REL 638 / Theology of Poverty

Class Policies

Attendance and Participation

The semester is short and discussion is paramount for our work together, so you are expected to be present and active in every class session. Unexcused absences will result in the automatic loss of a half-letter grade (e.g., from an H to an H-, or from an H- to an HP+). Participation is not a formal part of your grade, but is expected and will be taken into account when considering borderline final marks.

Personal Electronics

Laptops, tables, and cell phones may not be used in class. All the data continues to suggest that we remember better when taking notes by hand, and taking computers off the table makes it much easier to cultivate the friendships necessary to make our conversations fruitful. If you have special circumstances that require the use of a computer, please see me about it early in the semester.

Overdue Assignments

I will accept late writing assignments, since part of the goal is simply to provide you an opportunity to synthesize the material we’ve dealt with in class. But since the other part of the goal is to prepare you for class discussion, it will be impossible to receive full marks for a late assignment. Late journal entries will not be able to achieve more than a check- minus, and late media reflections will start from a maximum possible grade of an H-. I will grant exceptions for personal emergencies, or for students who speak to me at least one week prior to the due date about an expected late assignment.


If you have a disability and anticipate needing accommodations in this course, please come see me early in the semester or as soon as you become aware of your need. If you have not yet done so, you will first need to speak with someone in the Resource Office on Disabilities. They will work with you confidentially to find a set of accommodations that will allow you to fully engage in all your courses.

Academic Integrity

You should familiarize yourself with the standards of academic integrity YDS expects its students to uphold. Violations of those standards, whether intentional or inadvertent, will be reported to the Dean’s office and dealt with strictly.

Inclusive Language

I expect you always to use inclusive language when you are discussing human beings. That is, say “people” instead of “men,” “he or she” instead of just “he,” “brothers and sisters” instead of just “brothers,” and so on. At this point, this is a matter of basic English: the masculine no longer functions as a universal descriptor.

When talking about God, you may use whatever pronouns or images you prefer. During class discussions, always strive to be aware of how your choice of language will come across to your classmates, who may be in a different situation, have different commitments, or stand in different relations to the material than you do.