JAPANESE LANGUAGE & CULTURE COVENANT, 2002-03


Faculty:  John Cushing, Yukio Rikiso, Setsuko Tsutsumi, Tomoko Ulmer
 
 

Rationale


Your faculty believe that students deserve a clear statement of faculty intentions and expectations and of the consequences to be expected if things go wrong. Students are also entitled to know what they can expect from faculty. This covenant lays out our expectations. We ask that you read and sign it to indicate your acceptance. Acceptance of this covenant is a requirement for participation in the program.
 
 

Conditions for the Awarding of Credit


The concept of academic "credit" is a bit confusing: Students sometimes believe they are entitled to credit simply by paying tuition, and some faculty do award credit simply for enrolling in a course . Other faculty (and perhaps some students) believe that credit should be awarded only if the student has fully mastered an area of study. Moreover, at most colleges the use of letter grades compounds confusions about credit by making it hard to draw very many distinctions between what a student has done and learned and what s/he has not yet done or learned. After all, even an "A" student knows some things better than others!

Evergreen is fortunate in that our evaluation system allows a clean separation between the award of credit as a statement about participation in an academic program and the content of a narrative evaluation as a complex judgment about what a student knows. At Evergreen students may also include their own statement about their work (the self-evaluation) in their permanent record.

The faculty of Japanese Language and Culture believe that full credit should be given to every student who participates fully in the program regardless of how well that student seems to have mastered the content. Reductions from full credit will only result from reduced levels of participation. Narrative evaluations on the other hand will present the faculty teamís best judgment about how well a student understands academic content if credit is awarded for participation.

At the start of each quarter, students will receive a written syllabus laying out the program's activities, including class meetings, assignments, projects, and examinations. Full credit for a component of the program (such as Japanese language, seminar, or film studies) will be based on completion of all of the work for that component. Failure to complete some of a componentís work is grounds for credit reduction, regardless of the quality of the rest of the work.

The faculty understand, however, that everyone has a life outside of the program. People become sick, cars break down, lovers fall apart. Inevitably even the best student will miss a class or a paper deadline.

Yet when a student misses too much of a programís work, s/he also misses that content. Itís nobodyís fault when a student loses three weeks of classes because s/he developed pneumonia and had to be hospitalized. But the fact remains that that opportunity to learn is gone and really canít be made up.

Based on years of experience in teaching and in mediating credit disputes, the faculty intend to use the following rules to govern the award of academic credit:
 

Students who participate in all program activities, submit all assignments, and take all examinations for a component of the program are eligible to receive full credit for that component.

Every student is allowed to miss the following classes with no loss of credit:
 

Japanese Language (Tuesday, Thursday, & Friday): Four morning classes

Japanese Films and Film Workshops (Friday): Two films/workshops

Seminars (Wednesdays): Two seminars

Workshops (Thursdays): Two afternoon workshops

Lectures (Tuesdays): Two lectures


Additional absences, however, will result in the loss of one credit each, up to the maximum possible for the component(s) of the program in which the absence(s) occurred. Sign-in sheets will be posted by the faculty at the start of each class, and these will be the basis for determining attendance. It is the studentís responsibility to sign in at the start of class. Arriving more than ten minutes after a class begins or leaving before it ends will be noted by the faculty, and two such events will count as one absence.

For each assignment not submitted there will be a reduction of one credit in the appropriate component(s). In exceptional circumstances assignments may be accepted after the expected deadline, but only if the student requests an extension before the due date and only if the faculty agrees. Otherwise credit will be reduced accordingly for that component.

For each examination missed there will be a loss of one credit for the appropriate component(s). In some circumstances it may be possible to take an examination in an alternate form or at an alternate time, but this will be entirely at the discretion of the faculty, and any such arrangement must be made in advance.

Students are expected to attend classes fully prepared, drug-free, and sober. Students are also expected to behave with respect and civility towards others in the program. A student who in the opinion of the faculty team is violating any of these expectations will lose all credit and be barred from further participation in the program.

Students must submit a self-evaluation and meet with their seminar leader during the evaluation week following each quarter. Failure to meet either of these conditions will result in a total loss of credit for the period being evaluated. (Although students must write a narrative self-evaluation at the end of each quarter, it is up to each student whether or not to include that self-evaluation in his or her portfolio. In general the faculty advise students to do so, but this will be the studentís decision.)

Narrative Evaluations of Students


At the end of each quarter, faculty will write narrative evaluations of students. These evaluations will explore in appropriate detail the state of each studentís understanding of the content in the various parts of the program.

Narrative evaluations during the academic year (called "in-house" evaluations) will be directed to the student, whereas formal evaluations written at the end of the program will be directed to an outside reader. It is likely that the content of in-house evaluations may be more blunt than that of formal evaluations, but both kinds of evaluations will be "honest."
 
 
 

Expectations of Faculty


Students have a right to expect things from faculty as well as the reverse. The faculty of Japanese Language and Culture commit to the following:
 

To plan and deliver an integrated program in which each faculty member is fully aware of the work the others are doing and in which the components of the program connect to each other as much as possible. Assignments and examinations for the various components will be coordinated so as to distribute workload within the program as evenly as possible.

To return assignments, papers, and examinations within two weeks of the deadline for submission. Faculty agree to comment appropriately on the work submitted, but reserve the right to limit comments to one aspect of a studentís work, to one part of an assignment, or to a subset of all students submitting a given assignment if this is necessary to meet the deadline.

To hold regular office hours during each week when students can either make a private appointment or simply drop in. The faculty strongly encourage students who are having difficulty with any aspect of the program to contact them for help as early as possible.
 
 

I have read the above covenant and I agree to abide by its terms.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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