Welcome Letter/Sample Syllabus

Drag to rearrange sections
Rich Text Content

Welcome Letter

Welcome to English 213: Ethnic Literature of the United States!!

Hi, my name is Wes (or Professor Sims, if you prefer the more formal option).

This letter is a little peek into what the course will look like.  If you have more detailed questions, please email me

If you are enrolled in the course, please refer (and defer) to the syllabus instead of this Welcome Letter. 

This class is a hybrid class.  What does that mean?  

We will meet in the physical classroom each Monday from 10:00-11:20 am in room 6106 on the SLO campus.  Attendance is mandatory for this meeting. 

The meeting time above counts for half of our class time each week.  The other half will of our classroom meeting will be online through Canvas.  This time will be held asynchronously; in other words, there aren't any meeting times.  The content and assignments will be available for you to complete at your own pace and time.  

Here are the five books that you will need to buy (see below for details): 

  1. The Tattooed Solider by Héctor Tobar
  2. How Much of These Hills is Gold by C. Pam Zhang 
  3. The Prophets by Robert Jones Jr. 
  4. So Far from God by Anna Castillo 
  5. The Sentence by Louise Erdrich 

Here is a spoiler-free book review for one of our novels:

I'm excited to read all of these books, stories, and poems with you!  The above video is just another peek into the course. 

See the college bookstore's site.Links to an external site.

10 Things You Should Know:

  1. We have a required face-to-face meeting each week on Mondays from 10:00-11:20 am.
  2. Half of this class is online through Canvas.  However, there are no meeting times for this half. 
  3. There are required books that you will need to purchase for this class. See below for details.
  4. This class will only use Zoom for office hour appointments.  We won't be using Zoom for classes.  If you love Zoom, you probably want to pick another class.  
  5. This course is 18 weeks long.  It runs from  01/18/2022-05/20/2022.
  6. You must participate in this course on an almost every-other-day basis. You will have homework assignments and readings due at least once a week.
  7. You will be dropped if you fail to log in for more than 7 days and/or if your postings-to-forum or postings-to-homework percentage falls below 50%.
  8. I highly recommend that you have a computer, laptop, or tablet for this course; a cellphone is too small and limited to complete the course. 
  9. This is a literature course that requires a significant amount of reading. 
  10. The readings are at an adult-level/college-level, so the readings may be emotionally and/or intellectually difficult for some readers. 

Contact info:

  • Please contact me at carl_sims@cuesta.edu
    • don't worry that my email says Carl; it goes to me, Wes
  • My office is 6224 on the SLO campus. 

Response time:

  • I will respond to your emails within 24 hours or one business day at the very latest .
  • If you do not hear back from me, please write me back because I must have missed your email accidentally.


  • When the fall and spring semesters are in session, I will be available during "business hours" from 8-5 Monday through Friday. Outside of those hours, I am not available.
  • See your current syllabus for the times that I hold my office hours.

Online course environment:

This online course will be using a Web-based Learning Management System Canvas as the method to disseminate information. Canvas provides the framework for the course including PowerPoint presentations, student data files, the tools to receive and send course materials, and a grade book. Using the communication tools, you can communicate using e-mail, and you can share materials and ideas with other course participants via the discussion forums and groups.

Class opens / Accessing Canvas:

Prior to classes starting on Tuesday January 18th, you will receive an email to your my.Cuesta.edu address providing you with a reminder that class will be starting and log in procedures for Canvas, the learning management system (LMS) used to deliver course content. You can access Canvas by logging into MyCuesta, then clicking on the Resources Tab, then clicking on Canvas in the Online Learning Channel, or by typing the Canvas address (https://cuesta.instructure.com/) into your browser address bar. Do not bookmark / favorite the canvas site after your login, or you will get an error message next time you try to log in. You must access the canvas log in directly.

If you are not familiar with logging into canvas, please refer to the Canvas Quick Reference GuideLinks to an external site.. Once logged into Canvas you will be directed on where to get started. Be sure to read all the direction on the course home page.  

If you are having difficulty logging into Canvas after January 18, 2021 and need assistance please email me or technical support at this email address: support@my.cuesta.edu

Online learning: 

If you have never taken an online class or this is your first experience with Canvas, please be patient with yourself. Online classes are not inherently easier, although they may be much more convenient for many students. You should expect to spend at least as much time, if not more on this course as you would on a course that meets face to face. Since there is no lecture component, much of this time will be self-directed and there will be a substantial amount of reading, viewing, studying, and writing required. This course is completely online using Canvas; all coursework (discussions, assignments, quizzes) is submitted online. There are no face-to-face meetings.  Please be prepared to spend 8 - 12 hours per week on coursework for this class

IS AN ONLINE CLASS FOR YOU? (This class also meets in-person)

  • First, go to the Online Readiness Resources. to take a "self-assessment”. There are many resources that were designed to help you understand the basis for an online class and the skills necessary for success. (If the tutorials do NOT describe you, then taking this class online is NOT for you and I strongly suggest that you drop the online class and enroll in a traditional classroom section.)

Regular Effective Contact policy:

Regular and Effective Instructor Contact will be met through weekly instructor initiated threaded discussion forums; weekly announcements to students; timely and effective feedback on student assignments; email, phone or messaging to individuals; and virtual office hours.

College Course Description 

Introduces the study of American literature by Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and
Asian-American authors, including the application of literary theory and the analysis of core
concepts such as racialization, equity, ethno-centrism, intersectionality, and oppression.
Examines and emphasizes the shared and developing traditions of writers of color, focusing
on themes of resistance, agency, and self-affirmation.

Student Learning Outcomes

1. Analyze and articulate core concepts and themes in American literature by Black,
Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian-American authors, including but not limited to race and
ethnicity, racialization, equity, ethno-centrism, and white supremacy.
2. Apply literary theory to analyze American literary traditions of Black, Indigenous, Latinx,
and Asian-American authors, placing a particular emphasis on self-affirmation and agency of
both writers and literary characters.
3. Analyze how race and ethnicity intersect with other forms of difference affected by
hierarchy and oppression in texts by Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian-American authors.
4. Analyze how American authors who are Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian-American
have navigated or resisted mainstream culture and literary canons, and analyze how themes of
resistance and social justice are presented in their literary texts.
5. Identify and analyze Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian-American activity in the current
literary landscape, including (but not limited to) attention and engagement with current
writers, themes, and publishing trends.
6. Write clear and coherent argument and analysis supported by textual evidence, employing
the conventions of academic writing. 

Texts and Materials

Technical Support

Cuesta students are encouraged to direct all technical support inquiries to  support@my.cuesta.edu. If you are having issues with Canvas, you should contact the Canvas Support Hotline at (877) 921-7680, or click on the help button on the Canvas Navigation to report a problem.

If you are having difficulty viewing the course or logging in, it may be because you are not using the correct url: https://cuesta.instructure.com/ or you are using your phone or using an unsupported browser.

Your learning environment is best accessed from a desktop or laptop computer, using Firefox or Chrome.  This may solve your problem!  Please review the browser requirements and minimum computer specifications.


This course is designed using an accessible Learning Management System, and course materials have been created with ADA compliance in mind. If you have a disability and might need accommodations in this class such as extended time on exams or other resources. Please contact the instructor as soon as possible so that you can receive appropriate accommodations in a timely manner. You should also contact DSPS (Disabled Student Programs & Services). at 805-546-3148 or

College & Course Policies:

Academic Honesty Policy: In addition to my course policy, please note all students attending San Luis Obispo County Community College District at any district site and when representing Cuesta College in any off-campus activity, assume an obligation to conduct themselves in an acceptable manner compatible with the Student Code of conduct. Please review the Cuesta College Student Code of conduct. at:

Add / Drop Policy:

Waitlist Policy: please review Cuesta’s waitlist procedure and instructions.  

English Division Attendance Policy

Attendance is required and directly influences students’ success in every English course. In a 4-unit course, students may not miss more than 8 hours total for a full-length semester course; for a 3-unit course, students may not miss more than 6 hours. Instructors will pro-rate hours accordingly for those courses that meet fewer weeks than a full-length semester course. Students who are not in attendance on the first day of instruction may be dropped unless they notify the instructor in advance of the first class meeting. Students with three consecutive absences or more will be dropped from the course unless the instructor is contacted by the student before or during this period of absences. It is the student’s responsibility to communicate with the instructor regarding missed classes. It is also the student’s responsibility to drop the course before the drop deadline.

English Division Cellphone Usage Policy

If a cell phone, laptop, or another electronic device is required during a class session due to extenuating circumstances, it is the responsibility of the student to request use of this device with the instructor in advance of the class session. Otherwise, unless directed or permitted by an instructor, cell phone use in class is prohibited, and cell phones must not be visible to the student, their classmates, or the instructor. Students should silence or turn off their cell phones while class is in session. A verbal warning may be issued if a student is on his/her phone during class time. Following a warning, a student may be dismissed from class for the day, and further action may be taken at the instructor’s discretion, such as a student misconduct report being sent to the office of the Vice President of Student Services.

English Division Policy--Adult-Level Course Content

An academic environment based on free and open inquiry is essential to the well-being of our pluralistic, democratic society – and your education as an adult learner. This course will examine potentially controversial subjects and themes in assigned reading, film, discussions, and writing assignments, such as those found in the academic areas of human sexuality, religion, and politics. If you are a student who, for whatever your reasons, may have strong personal reservations about participating in the free and open inquiry into such academic areas of discourse, you may want to meet with me immediately to preview course material to help you decide whether or not you will continue with the class. Otherwise, please be prepared to listen openly and contribute to class discussions without judgment in this college-level course.

Drag to rearrange sections
Rich Text Content

Page Comments