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Ethics Outline

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School of Accounting and Finance
AFM 311: Connections to Ethical Context
Spring 2015
Course Syllabus
Course Instructors:

Name: | Karen Wensley | Office Location: | HH383J | Telephone: | (shared office) | Email: | | Office Hours: | Monday 12:00 – 1:00 or 3:00 – 3:30, Thursday 9:30 – 10:00 or 2:00 – 3:00 or by appointment, email | Name: | Krista Fiolleau | Office Location: | HH 383K | Telephone: | X38166 | Email: | | Office Hours: | Wednesdays, 9 AM to 11 AM, by appointment, or email |

Name: | Darren Charters | Office Location: | HH 3153 | Telephone: | 519-888-4567 extension 32570 | Email: | | Office Hours: | Wednesdays, 2:00pm – 4:00pm, by appointment, or email |

Course Description:
AFM 311 focuses on developing the qualities and transferable skills necessary for integration, continuous learning, and professional development. The course is oriented around the ethical and moral issues faced by accounting and finance professionals. Students are expected to have taken AFM 211 before taking AFM 311. As well, AFM 431 (a precursor course to this one) as well as PHIL 215/ARBUS 202 are anti-requisites to this course. If a student has taken one of those courses and hasn’t already spoken to Professor Charters (or someone else in the SAF) about this he/she should speak to the professor as soon as possible so an appropriate determination of how to proceed can occur.
More can be said about the course than the calendar description included above. This is the primary ethics course designed for students in the AFM, Math/CPA, and BioTech/CPA programs. The focus of the course is the study of ethical and moral issues that arise in professional lives of accountants and financial managers
It is assumed that all of you have some familiarity with the financial scandals of recent years. The real enigma of this history is how highly trained professionals managed to do things that clearly at times violated basic ethical principles. In its broadest sense this will be the question we will ask in this course. Related to that question is the obvious one: how can you ensure that your career is one that is governed by a commitment to making sound ethical decisions and that you keep that commitment?

This course will expose you to enough information about how ethical dilemmas might be resolved in order to ensure you are equipped to make sound decisions yourself. You will look at case studies to identify what went wrong, and what role regulators, auditors, management, boards of directors, and individual employees played. You will practice the skills needed to deal with situations you may face in the workplace.

Lecture Schedule: Section | Days of the week | Time | Room | Instructor | L 001 | Monday | 9:30 - 10:20 | HH 1101 | Various | L 002 | Monday | 10:30 - 11:20 | HH 1101 | Various | T 102 | Monday | 12:30 - 2:20 | HH 1108 | Fiolleau | T 101 | Monday | 1:00 – 2:50 | HH 2107 | Wensley | T 103 | Monday | 2:00 – 3:50 | HH 1108 | Charters | T 108 | Monday | 3:00 – 4:50 | HH 2107 | Fiolleau | T 104 | Tuesday | 10:00 – 11:50 | EV1 350 | Charters | T 105 | Tuesday | 12:00 – 2:50 | EV1 350 | Charters | T 106 | Thursday | 10:00 – 11:50 | EV1 350 | Wensley | T 107 | Thursday | 12:00 – 2:50 | EV1 350 | Wensley |

Course Goals:
Programs delivered by the School of Accounting and Finance (SAF) are designed to provide students with the competencies, professionalism and practical experience that they need to excel in their chosen careers. With this in mind, SAF programs (and courses within the programs) are created to deliver the knowledge, skills and competencies identified in the School Learning Model illustrated below:

This course will cover knowledge and skills from the following categories: 1. Thinking & Problem Solving Skills 2. Communication Skills 3. Ethical Conduct 4. Learning How to Learn

In addition to identified knowledge and skills, it also focuses squarely on the professional qualities of acting with integrity and taking responsibility.

Upon completing this course, you should be able to: 1. Describe basic ethical frameworks for considering professional conduct 2. Articulate the fundamental reasons for (and importance of ) integrating ethical considerations into professional conduct 3. Articulate, in regard to ethical conflicts, basic action steps consistent with core values and professional obligations and expectations Course Resources:

Ethical Obligations and Decision Making in Accounting: Custom Reading Package (S. M. Mintz and R. E. Morris)

The custom reading package is available through the UW Book Store

The custom reading package is a shortened version of the Mintz and Morris text Ethical Obligations and Decision Making in Accounting (3rd ed.). The reading package page numbering will match the page numbers of the Mintz text (3rd ed.) for chapters 1-3. For those using the text rather than the package the page numbers will synchronize for all but a few cases (discussed later in the course. The additional cases can be easily be found by name using the index of the text.

A few other sources available online are referenced specifically in the syllabus schedule.
Course Evaluation:

Assessment Method | Date | Percent of Total Grade | Assignment 1 | May 31st | 15% | MidTerm | June 30 | 35% | Group PaperAnnotated Bibl.Outline & Presentation- make noteCase NotesFinal Product | June 14thJuly 24thAs Scheduled commencing July6 As discussed in ClassAug 4th | 40%5%10%5%20% | Participation | Throughout Term | 10% | Final Grade | | 100% |

Assignment 1

Write an 800 – 1000 word essay that examines one of the following assertions. It is due May 31st at 11:59 pm to the turnitin dropbox on LEARN. Your objective is to briefly research the topic using 4 – 6 sources (at least 1 of which must be from a peer-reviewed or scholarly journal) to identity two or more reasons in favour of the assertion and two or more reasons against the assertion. You do not have to reach a conclusion as to whether you agree with the assertion or not. You will be graded based on your ability to articulate the arguments clearly, and on your appropriate use of the sources.
Please note that with a limited word count effective structuring, writing, and editing of your submission is absolutely essential. Plan your work so that you leave sufficient time to do so.
1) The ratio of CEO compensation to the average pay of workers has become much too large, and regulatory measures should be taken to limit CEO compensation. 2) It is unfair to apply HST to women’s sanitary products. 3) It is unethical to hide the fees charged to investors by mutual funds and the investment advisors who sell them, so recent measure to force disclose of fees are appropriate. 4) The protection of Canada’s asbestos industry by the Canadian government has been unethical. 5) The payday loan industry exploits the poor, and should be outlawed. 6) Regulators should impose a quota on boards of directors to the effect that at least 30% of the board members must be women. 7) Audit firms should not be allowed to provide any non-audit services to public company clients for which they are the appointed auditor. 8) The public has an inherent right to know about professional discipline findings and full disclosure should be the default for any professional discipline proceedings and outcomes. 9) Civility (respectful personal interaction) is an essential element of ethical conduct within a profession. (note- civility between legal counsel has become a significant topic of discussion within the legal profession, although even in the investment banking industry, banker contempt for clients has been noted, with a Goldman Sachs employee once describing clients as ‘Muppets’.). 10) Social media postings, whether on facebook or twitter, are becoming part of our daily personal lives, but are they also part of our professional lives? Should facebook and other on line postings be subject to professional sanctions?

The midterm will be on June 30th (7:30pm – 9:30pm) It will consist of essay and short answer questions, and will cover all assignments in the text and other reading materials and class materials including videos and lectures through and including June 29th (there are a few Monday seminar groups meeting on June 29th to ‘catch up’ for the cancelled Victoria Day Monday).

Written requests for re-grading a mid-term examination must be made within one week after the examination has been returned. A written request must be submitted that indicates your reasons for believing that a question was improperly graded. The instructor reserves the right to re-grade the entire examination.
Group Paper
This is a group project that accounts for 40 percent of your grade and takes the place of a final examination. The project includes 4 parts: (i) an annotated bibliography of sources you will use for research, (ii) an outline that demonstrates how you will approach the topic and how you will organize your arguments that will be presented orally to the instructor as well as handed in, (iii) written notes on the application of your topic to 4 out of the 6 case studies we study in class, and (iv) a final report.
The groups should comprise 4 students, all of whom must be in the same class. While odd numbers may result in one or more groups of 3, all students must first attempt to join a group of 4. You will need to determine your group by the 3rd week of the semester in order to start work on the annotated bibliography.
Each group will select one topic with no more than one group selecting the same topic in each class. The topics are statements that are to be debated or tested; they are deliberately provocative and it is your task to consider all issues to which they give rise. You will focus or narrow down the topic for your final report. The themes are listed below.
The following guidelines apply: * Students pick their own teams with 4 students per group. The names of the teams and the topic selected should be posted on the LEARN site by the 26th of May. At that stage, if any student is not in a group, they will be assigned to a group. * The list of topics will be maintained on LEARN as Discussions. Each group must select from the topics not already chosen for that class. * The annotated bibliography is due by 11:59 pm June 14th to LEARN. It should consist of at least 10 articles (at least 5 from academic sources) with a brief 2 – 3 sentence summary of what the article is about. The purpose of the assignment is to get you started thinking about the topic for your paper, to practice finding sources, and to ensure you know how to cite material. Note that you are not limited to these 10 sources for your final paper – you will no doubt identify additional materials as your project progresses. * The paper outline is due by 11:59 pm July 24th to LEARN. By this time, you will have refined your approach to the topic, so your outline should include your thesis statement. The outline will demonstrate how you will organize your paper. You may wish to demonstrate in the outline how you will make use of the sources you have found to support your arguments. Your group will be required to present your outline to your instructor on a determined date during a 2 week period starting July 6 that you will sign up for. * The topics for the group paper have relevance to the 6 case studies we will be working on in the final month of the course. Each group must hand in written notes for 4 of the cases that demonstrate that they have researched how their topic relates to the case. It is anticipated that these notes will be useful in writing the final paper. Notes must be handed in at the end of each class (point form is fine). Group members will be expected to participate in the class discussion based on those notes. If the specific topic doesn’t apply to the case, the instructor will suggest a related issue for the group to investigate. For example, if your group has topic 6 below and the particular case does not involve a founder/CEO, you could look at whether the CEO is truly acting in the best interests of the shareholders. * For the final paper you are to analyze your topic/theme. You should include references to cases including but not limited to the ones covered in class. You must use both academic and business press sources. All sources must be properly cited otherwise you may be found to have committed an academic offence. Reports are a group responsibility – penalties for lack of referencing apply to the whole group so allow time for all of you to do proper proofing. * The final report will be a maximum of 3000 words plus attachments and references. You will be evaluated on the quality of your analysis, the quality of your sources, and the quality of your writing. Tight, clear business style should be the goal. * When assessing the reports, the following guidelines/considerations will apply: * Under 60: lack of effort, poor proofing, sub-standard product. * 60-70: some effort, missed the key points, poor sources, poor proofing. * 70-75: on the right track but generally not very good or something obvious missing. * 75-79: average, meets the bar, limited evidence of critical thinking. * 80-85: good effort but likely still missing something. Perhaps insufficient depth on all points. * 85 plus: degrees of very good to excellent. * Reports are to be submitted to the Turnitin drop box on LEARN by 11:59 pm July 31st (first day following term completion).
Possible topics: 1. Weak regulations and laws have allowed many recent corporate ethical scandals to happen. Legislators and regulators have not done their part in preventing them 2. Boards of directors who do not exercise good governance are accountable for letting many recent corporate scandals happen. 3. If auditors and other professionals had stood up to their clients, many recent corporate scandals would not have happened. 4. CEOs and other executives have inherent conflicts of interest between maximizing their own gain and serving shareholders. This conflict of interest is at the heart of recent corporate scandals. 5. Corporate scandals are not just a matter of malfeasance at the executive suite. They are reflective of an unethical corporate culture, in which people are encouraged to win at all costs and discouraged from questioning decisions. Such a culture is a good predictor of whether unethical acts are likely. 6. Companies who are led by CEOs who are also company founders or who act like the company belongs to them are more likely to commit unethical acts. 7. Companies that are caught engaging in unethical behaviour are just the tip of the iceberg – many other companies in similar circumstances are likely to have been doing the same. The fact that this behaviour is widespread helps executives justify their actions. 8. Modern stock markets, with wildly fluctuating stock prices, and analysts who insist on companies meeting their quarterly earnings targets, drive many CEOs to engage in unethical practices. 9. Companies engaging in unethical practices often use complexity as a way to deceive shareholders and other stakeholders. More transparency in communicating results and business practices would reduce the likelihood of corporate scandals. 10. Employee compensation structures that are heavily weighted towards bonuses and other incentive compensation can encourage employees to reach and exceed goals that benefit the company. But they can also result in unethical behaviour that is ultimately harmful to the company and its shareholders. On balance, incentive compensation is not compatible with an ethical corporate culture. 11. “The old boys club” at the top of corporate North America has led to a number of corporate scandals. A more diverse board of directors and executive suite would lead to a more ethical business culture. 12. Recent literature has compared the characteristics of successful CEOS with those of psychopaths, and suggested that there is a high concentration of psychopaths in the executive suite. This is an unavoidable consequence of a capitalist economy, and nothing can be done about it. 13. In most corporate scandals, many employees are aware of what is going on. A robust ethics reporting structure, including a hotline administered by an outside party, would result in scandals coming to light much sooner.
Class Participation:
Class participation is a very relevant aspect of the course and it is included for very intentional reasons. We believe that it is important for students to work and, and practice, giving voice to their values (a phrase borrowed from Mary Gentile) and active engagement and participation in this course as an opportunity to work at that. The primary opportunity to will be in your smaller weekly 2hr group sections but we do not rule out the possibility to show evidence of active engagement (that meets the our expectations) elsewhere.
Evaluation will be by way of initial self-evaluation with review by your relevant instructor. You will have a form (for the term) upon which you will complete a regular self-evaluation. It will be reviewed regularly by your small group instructor who will provide her/his agreement and/or feedback. At the end of the term the participation will be evaluated holistically (over the term) with reference to the student’s evaluation form. In this regard, if students are not meeting either their own or the instructor’s expectations any final value attributed should not come as a surprise to the student.
Instructor Communications
When contacted by email or telephone during normal working hours we will do our best to reply within 24 hrs (during regular working hours). When contacted outside working hours during this period students should normally expect that the earliest follow up will be sometime during working hours the following day. When contacted by email or telephone during weekend or holiday periods students can expect a reply sometime during the next business day. While we may well be in a position to respond outside normal working hours on many occasions, and will likely do so when feasible, that should not be the baseline student expectation in this regard.
Submission Times and Location
All assignments must be received (in the appropriate drop box) by the time stated. The instructors reserve the right to award a zero for a late submission unless there are mitigating circumstances. In the event there are mitigating circumstances it is expected that a paper will be submitted as soon as reasonably possible even with allowance for such circumstances. Failing that, as above, the instructors reserve the right to award a 0 for a late submission.

Please be aware that the University of Waterloo is located in the Eastern Time Zone (GMT or UTC-5 during standard time and UTC-4 during daylight saving time) and, as such, the time that your activities and/or assignments are due is based on this zone. If you are outside of the Eastern Time Zone and require assistance with converting your time, please try the following online converter.

Group Work Policy
When you work as a group you must follow all guidelines and follow academic rules. You are each responsible for ensuring compliance for the whole group and if one violates academic rules each one of you may well be subject to disciplinary action. All members of a group receive the group grade for each assignment. Should any significant teamwork issues arise, see the instructor as soon as possible, not after the assignment has been evaluated.

Turnitin Policy: Plagiarism detection software (Turnitin) will be used to screen assignments in this course. This is being done to verify that use of all materials and sources in assignments is documented.
The specific arrangements for the use of Turnitin in this course will be explained during the first week of classes. However, the basic characteristics will be: (1) Students will submit their assignment(s) to Turnitin through UW LEARN for screening, unless they indicate that they do not wish to have that done; and, (2) if a student chooses not to have their assignment screened by Turnitin, an alternative arrangement will be made in advance of any submission. The alternative could include providing an annotated bibliography for all references used and/or providing an original copy of ALL rough drafts of the assignment, along with the version submitted.

School of Accounting and Finance Policy on missed exams

Students are expected to complete all course assessments and write their examinations as regularly scheduled; however, there may be circumstances where accommodating a missed assessment is approved. Accommodation is not automatic upon the presentation of documentation. Instructors will use the documentation along with all information available to them, when determining whether accommodation is warranted. Please note that there will be no deferred mid-terms or final exams prepared this term for this course. Based on an approved absence, the weighting of the final exam will be adjusted to make up for an excused absence from a mid-term or any other component of the course. If you are excused from the final exam due to an approved absence, you will be required to write the exam the next time the course is offered. At the end of the current term you will receive an INC course grade. When you have written the final exam, a grade revision will be submitted based on the results of the final exam and your other course work. Failure to write the deferred exam the next time the course is offered will result in a course grade based on the elements of the course that you completed.
Documentation Requirements Supporting Requests for Accommodation
UW’s policy regarding documentation to support requests for accommodation due to illness can be found at To support requests for accommodation due to illness, students should seek medical treatment and then provide a completed University of Waterloo Verification of Illness Form. This form is normally the only acceptable medical documentation and is available on line at Online.pdf. For other requests for accommodations, such as death of a family member, appropriate documentation should be provided within a reasonable time period. Students who miss the final exam also must provide the Faculty of Arts Incomplete Grade Agreement Form which is available on line at Grade Agreement Form - final June 2012.pdf . * School of Accounting and Finance students should provide supporting documentation to the SAF Undergraduate Coordinator, Carol Treitz at HH 3156 (if the Undergraduate Coordinator is not available, the documentation should be provided to the staff member in the Program Office), within 2 working days of the missed assessment. School of Accounting and Finance students must also complete and submit the SAF Request for Exam Accommodation Form (mid-term or final exams) in addition to the supporting documentation noted above. This form can be obtained from the SAF Undergraduate Coordinator at HH 3156. All forms must include student name, ID number, course number of missed examination, and instructor’s name. The SAF Undergraduate Coordinator will complete the bottom section of the SAF Request for Exam Accommodation Form, and provide a copy to the instructor. The Coordinator will maintain a record of missed exams by student (name, ID #), so that unusual situations can be identified and addressed.
Recording of Lectures
The SAF recognizes that recording (e.g., audio, video) a class for the purpose of private study may be a useful learning tool. Any student wanting to record (in whole or part) a lecture is required to seek the consent of the instructor before doing so and the instructor may, at her/his discretion, decline. Where recording is required as part of disability accommodation the instructor is to be advised through provision of the appropriate AccessAbility Services paperwork. In the event that consent is given by an instructor, unless otherwise stated in writing, the consent for recording is strictly limited to the purpose of private/personal study and for no other reason (e.g., loaning the recording or reproducing a copy for another student, contesting grading, posting in whole or part online, etc.). Any failure to abide by these requirements is a violation of the university's academic integrity requirements and is subject to proceedings under Policy 71, Student Discipline.

Academic Integrity
In order to maintain a culture of academic integrity, members of the University of Waterloo community are expected to promote honesty, trust, fairness, respect, and responsibility. Academic Integrity Office (UW):
Academic Integrity (Arts):
A student who believes that a decision affecting some aspect of his/her university life has been unfair or unreasonable may have grounds for initiating a grievance. Read Policy70, Student Petitions and Grievances, Section 4,
A student is expected to know what constitutes an academic offence, to avoid committing an academic offence, and to take responsibility for his/her actions. A student who is unsure whether an action constitutes an offence, or who needs help in learning how to avoid offences (e.g., plagiarism, cheating) or about “rules” for group work/collaboration should seek guidance from the course instructor, academic advisor, or the Undergraduate Associate Dean. When misconduct has been found to have occurred, disciplinary penalties will be imposed under Policy 71 – Student Discipline. For information on categories of offences and types of penalties, students should refer to Policy 71 - Student Discipline,
* A student may appeal the finding and/or penalty in a decision made under Policy 70 - Student Petitions and Grievances, (other than regarding a petition) or Policy 71 - Student Discipline if a ground for an appeal can be established. Read Policy 72 - Student Appeals, *
Academic Offenses and Implications
Students majoring in accounting programs at UW should be aware that, due to the highly structured nature of the study plans and the fact that many AFM courses are offered on a limited basis, a penalty imposed as a result of an academic offence could result in a significant delay of the student’s degree completion and convocation dates - particularly if the penalty involves a suspension.
Avoiding Academic Offences
The Faculty of Arts has prepared a website dealing with ways to avoid academic offences.
Please Also Note: this is an Ethics course. Don’t violate Academic Integrity policies!
Violation of Standards by Another Student
Allowing another student to obtain course marks by deceit contributes to a general lowering of the ethical standards of the University and contributes to deception of potential employers and other academic institutions. Thus, you have an obligation to take some action when you know another student is violating the course's academic integrity standards. This is a difficult personal trial to face, but it is an important part of your ethical obligation as a student. If you know that another student is violating the standards, it is your responsibility to inform the student's instructor. This requirement closely parallels those found in the standards of conduct of all of the professional accounting bodies in Canada (see, for example, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario, Rules of Professional Conduct, section 211).
Note for Students with Disabilities
The AccessAbility Office, located in Needles Hall, Room 1132, collaborates with all academic departments to arrange appropriate accommodations for students with disabilities without compromising the academic integrity of the curriculum. If you require academic accommodations to lessen the impact of your disability, please register with the AccessAbility Office at the beginning of each academic term.
Intellectual Property
Please see the Guidelines on Use of UW Computing and Network Resources.
© Copyright Information
All rights, including copyright, images, slides, audio, and video components, of the content of this course are owned by the course author, unless otherwise stated. These Web pages are owned or controlled by the University of Waterloo, Distance and Continuing Education. By accessing the Web pages, you agree that you may only download the content for your own personal, non-commercial use. You are not permitted to copy, broadcast, download, store (in any medium), transmit, show or play in public, adapt or change in any way the content of these Web pages for any other purpose whatsoever without the prior written permission of the course author and the University of Waterloo, Distance and Continuing Education.
Respect the copyright of others and abide by all copyright notices and regulations when using the computing facilities provided for your course of study by the University of Waterloo. No material on the Internet or World Wide Web (WWW) may be reproduced or distributed in any material form or in any medium, without permission from copyright holders or their assignees. To support your course of study, the University of Waterloo has provided hypertext links to relevant Web sites, resources, and services on the Web. These resources must be used in accordance with any registration requirements or conditions which may be specified. You must be aware that in providing such hypertext links the University of Waterloo has not authorized any acts (including reproduction or distribution) which, if undertaken without permission of copyright owners or their assignees, may be infringement of copyright. Permission for such acts can only be granted by copyright owners or their assignees.
If there are any questions about this notice, please contact the University of Waterloo, Distance and Continuing Education, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, N2L 3G1 or by email.
Course Schedule Monday date | Lecture topic | Tutorial Topic and Reading | May 4 | Pharmor video | Intro to course and what does Phar-mor suggest about the importance of ethics?Mintz pp. 88-9 Phar-mor case | May 11 | Research and citation review NOTE- Attendance is essential, any failure to abide by academic integrity expectations in subsequent assignments will not be excused as a result of missing this session (regardless of the reason for your absence) | Introductory Mintz materialsMintz pp. 1-17Case 1-1 Harvard Cheating Scandal p. 42Case 1-7 Eating Time p.49 | May 18 | Victoria day holiday | Corporate social responsibility (CSRMilton Friedman, The Social Responsibility of Business is to Increase its Profits , The New York Times Magazine, Sept 13, 1970Students should also choose a public company and come to class prepared to discuss the company’s stated CSR policyNOTE- for Monday tutorials this will be covered June 29. | May 25 | The philosophy of ethics | Philosophy of ethics Mintz pp. 21-29 CPA Ontario Rules of Professional ConductCFA Code of Ethics and Standard of Professional ConductIIA Code of EthicsTax return case 2-3 p. 80 | June 1 | Milgram video | Milgram and concepts of behavioural ethics Mintz pp. 55—72 World Com case 2-1 p 79 | June 8 | Legal concepts | Corporate governance Mintz pp. 114 – 137Amgen case 3-2 pp. 154-55Steve Jobs case 3 – 8 p. 167 | June 15 | Enron | Enron and Wyatt article Wyatt, A. R.: 2005 “Accounting Professionalism: They Just Don’t Get it” Accounting Horizons 18 (1), 45-53 | June 22 | Experiences in Professional Practice- Faculty Panel | Ethical culture in organizationsMintz pp 91-110 Students should also choose a public company and come to class prepared to discuss the company’s public code of ethics | June 29 | No lecture due to midterm | No tutorials due to midterm EXCEPTION- Monday tutorials cancelled for Victoria Day will be held on June 29 (i.e., CSR and Friedman article) | July 6,13,20 | No lectures, meetings with groups | CasesJuly 6- Nortel case, Mintz pp. 452-55Siemens case, Mintz pp. 518-20July 13- Hollinger case, Sachs case, the following links for insight into the personality of Conrad Black (and related reactions):CBC Interview in two parts: part of the interview to the interview 20- Blackberry case, Olympus case, Mintz pp. 537-41 | July 27 | Course wrap up | No tutorials |

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