PSI syllabus


Personal and professional responsibility during this pandemic

  1. As a scholar who studies risk, I take the ongoing covid-19 pandemic very seriously. As a member of this community, I take our responsibility to each other very seriously. As a lawyer, I take the obligations of our profession -- particularly to the more vulnerable and the less powerful -- very seriously. As your professor, I expect that you do as well.
  2. We are at a difficult point in this pandemic. If you are vaccinated, young, and without a preexisting health condition, then covid-19 currently appears to present little risk of death to you. But there are other significant risks: Endangering those with preexisting conditions (whether known or unknown); contributing to new variants that present greater risk; depriving ourselves and our loved ones of the care we need in unrelated emergencies by burdening our hospitals and healthcare workers; and facing the possibility of long-term consequences of infection.
  3. I expect that, unless your medical provider has advised you otherwise, you have received a full course of covid-19 vaccination.
  4. I expect that you will effectively cover your nose and mouth at all times while you are in the physical classroom. "Effectively cover" means that you will correctly wear a mask that offers adequate protection to those around you -- in other words, a properly fitting mask designated as or equivalent to N95, FFP2, KF94, or KN95. If adequately maintained and correctly worn, surgical masks are also acceptable, although they may not offer you as much protection as rated masks. If you cannot find or afford appropriate masks for this class, I will help you.
  5. I expect that you will not attend class physically if you are sick, feel sick, think you might be sick, have been exposed to covid-19, or have reason to believe that your presence could endanger your colleagues. I will work with you on alternative arrangements.
  6. If you have any concerns at any point about the safety, propriety, or practicality of your attendance or participation, I invite you to talk with me. You are not alone. I will offer at least as much flexibility as my discretion allows. The class records that I maintain will document the quality rather than the form of your participation.


  1. My name is Bryant Walker Smith, and you are welcome to call me Bryant. My virtual office hours are by appointment. My publications are available here, but you need not read these unless they are relevant to your research.
  2. Professors Bridgette Carr and Ann Verhey-Henke run the problem-solving bootcamp integrated within this course.
  3. Britt Eastman, our Law and Mobility fellow, is assisting with our course. Britt is hosting office hours in the K&E Cafe on Friday afternoons from 3 to 5 pm. You are welcome to drop by to ask logistical questions, share resources for your projects, or otherwise chat about the course (or graduate school more generally).


  1. This course requires significant work both during and outside of class -- and both individually and in teams.
  2. Our classes are on Wednesdays from 3:15pm to 6:30pm (except as announced), including:
    1. Our first class on January 19th in 1025 Jeffries Hall or online.
    2. The problem-solving bootcamp on January 26th, February 2nd, and February 9th in 1225 Jeffries Hall (a different room) or by arrangement with Professor Bridgette Carr.
    3. Our remaining classes on February 16th, February 23rd, March 9th, March 16th, March 23rd, March 30th, April 6th, April 13th, and April 20th in 1025 Jeffries Hall (our original room) or online.
  3. This is a hybrid course.
    1. I will likely participate virtually for most of our sessions.
    2. You are welcome to participate virtually or (if you can be confident you do not pose a risk to others) in person. Provided you communicate with your team, you may switch your form of participation at any time.
    3. If you are in the physical classroom, you will still need to join the Zoom classroom so that you can fully interact with your teammates.
  4. Our course websites include:
    1. NewlyPossible (public materials, including this syllabus and a tentative schedule).
    2. Canvas (nonpublic materials).
    3. Mural (team work product).
    4. Zoom (virtual classroom).
  5. Required materials (unless you make other arrangements with me) include:
    1. Access to reliable high-speed Internet.
    2. A webcam.
    3. Earphones (if in person).


We will be exploring the implications of automated and connected driving on enforcement, with particular focus on the roles of automation and nongovernmental actors. A substantive introduction to our course topic is available here.


  1. Develop problem-solving skills by solving a problem.
  2. Solve a problem by applying problem-solving skills.
  3. Develop teamwork and project management skills.
  4. Reflect on the meaning of ethics and the roles of power, privilege, and discrimination both within and across disciplines.
  5. Develop an interdisciplinary understanding of the basics of automated driving.
  6. Develop an interdisciplinary understanding of the basics of enforcement.
  7. Explore challenges and opportunities related to automated and private enforcement in connection with automated driving.
  8. Navigate uncertainty, ambiguity, and inconsistency.
  9. Read, listen, think, write, talk, and behave like a competent professional.


  1. Try!
  2. Prepare.
  3. Do the work.
  4. Respect others.
  5. Challenge yourself.
  6. Act with honor in all you do.
  7. Behave like the professional you will become.
  8. If you have concerns (general or specific), talk with me.
  9. Coordinate with your colleagues and with me in advance (except in an emergency).

Sensitivity of subject matter

  1. Recognize and respect that your colleagues’ experiences may be different than your own.
  2. Some students may be personally familiar with the kinds of tragedies, biases, and conditions present in our materials.
  3. All of us (including me) will make mistakes in what we say and how we say it.
  4. If you have concerns about particular topics, I invite you to talk with me.


  1. You must be fully prepared prior to class.
  2. You may not participate in any class session or other course activity while driving.
  3. Use the bathroom and take a break when you need to do so.
  4. During class, you may engage in activities conducive to your learning and participation, including communications that are relevant to our discussion.
  5. During class, you may not engage in activities that are distracting to you or your classmates, including communications that are irrelevant to our discussion.
  6. Familial obligations are an exception to this last rule: While I strongly encourage you to arrange for the care of your dependents during class time, I recognize that this is not always practical, and I support your efforts to balance these multiple responsibilities.


  1. One-third of your grade will be determined by Professors Carr and Verhey-Henke based on your performance in the problem-solving bootcamp (including the gateways throughout the semester).
  2. One-third of your grade will be based on your individual contribution, of which:
    1. One-third will reflect your inputs and activities.
    2. One-third will reflect your outputs.
    3. One-third will reflect your outcomes and impacts.
  3. One-third of your grade will be based on your group's contribution, of which:
    1. One-third will reflect its inputs and activities.
    2. One-third will reflect its outputs.
    3. One-third will reflect its outcomes and impacts (both actual and potential).
  4. See Peace Corps Theory of Change Model.


  1. You deserve equal access and opportunity.
  2. You may, but you need not, speak with me about your university-directed accommodations.

Interpersonal violence and mandatory reporting

  1. You deserve to be safe.
  2. Confidential reporting officers can provide confidential and anonymous support.
  3. All other employees (including faculty) must report incidents of sexual assault, sexual exploitation, and partner or relationship violence to the university’s Title IX Coordinator.

Wellness generally

  1. Law school is stressful, and the practice of law is stressful. Your physical, mental, and emotional health matters.
  2. If you are lonely, scared, desperate, insecure, or unsure, you are not alone. Please reach out. Every semester I hear from students in crisis.
  3. Our law school, university, and community have people who care about you and resources that are available to you, including:
    1. Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) (+1-734-764-8312).
    2. Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center (SAPAC).
    3. Office of the Ombuds.
    4. Lawyers Helping Lawyers (+1-855-321-4384).
    5. A food pantry (with food, cookware, and household items) a block from the law school.
    6. And many others.
  4. For people in their early 20s, motor vehicle crashes are a leading cause of death. Aggressive, inattentive, drowsy, and intoxicated driving are unlawful and irresponsible. Jokes that trivialize texting-while-driving are not funny. We owe better to each other.
  5. Please take care of yourself and others. Prepare now by reviewing these links.