program covenant
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  Ireland: Living Between Worlds

Program Covenant

This program involves advanced level work in the study of Irish culture. You, the students, are responsible for your learning as well as that of your peers. Covenant agreements represent the minimum effort required for credit and it is expected that the large majority of students will surpass these minimums. We look for you to be willing to do your best and to seriously involve yourself with these new ideas. We are particularly concerned that students try to optimize their progress within the program. It is preferable that you risk overextending yourself rather than “play it safe” and gain less of what the program has to offer. The objective of the program is that you become self-directed in your work and a fully functioning member of the Learning Community. All members of the community, students and faculty, are expected to commit themselves to “conversations of respect” with persons different from themselves, to learn from these conversations, and to be as open to change of opinion (if not behavior) as is humanly possible. It will not be acceptable to refuse to listen or to enter into conversations with particular persons because of differences of opinion, no matter how strongly held. It will also not be acceptable to exploit the respectful atmosphere of the class to dominate or browbeat others into listening to one’s favorite theories on this or that side of the socio-political spectrum. Conversations of respect are two-way streets. We recognize that good will cannot be legislated; however, it is hoped that the controversies generated in this program will create more light than heat, and more awareness than close-mindedness. We expect you to work in cooperation with each other, to share information, and to broaden your knowledge of Irish culture beyond the parameters of your current understanding.

Writing: You are expected to come into the first seminar of the week with something written, and your book or other work in hand. Your writing will then be used as a response paper for seminar; although the faculty will not read it immediately, it should be kept in your program notebook for faculty perusal during occasional meetings. The second seminar is envisioned as a time to integrate what we have learned and discussed during the week. You will be asked to write larger integrative papers, the last of which will serve as a rough draft of your self-evaluation. Furthermore, we have created a take-home written examination for each of the two quarters. No late examinations will be accepted.

Language: Knowledge of the Irish language is essential to understanding its importance in Irish culture. You will receive regular instruction in various aspects of the Irish language these two quarters. A portion of the exam will be devoted to the Irish language, and each student must be able to recite a short poem in Irish, with correct pronunciation, toward the end of the quarter. No prior knowledge of Irish is assumed, so those who are already familiar with the language will be expected to help others.

Collaborative Presentations: The tenth week of the program has been set aside for collaborative student presentations. You are expected to work cooperatively in small groups throughout the quarter, relying on your strengths but also working on your weaknesses. This presentation will be one of your major assignments for the quarter; even if you have never performed before, you should be able to find ways to contribute to a successful presentation. Groups will be formed after the first several weeks of the program, and no one will be left without a group. Independent presentations are not appropriate for this program.

The following points of agreement exist between the students and faculty of this program to ensure that there is a clear understanding of mutual expectations. Failure to meet these understandings and obligations will result in loss of credit. The amount of credit lost is at the discretion of the faculty member. Note: it is the stipulation of both the state and federal governments that full-time work (16 quarter hours per quarter) is equal to forty-eight hours of activity per week (eight hours per day, six days per week). The workload of all full-time programs is designed with this in mind.

1. Students shall complete all assignments and hand them in or perform them at the assigned time. Students will come to seminar prepared with book (or other work) and one- to two-page book response paper in hand. The book response paper is treated as a ticket of admission to the seminar. Any work that you hand in is expected to be your best effort.
2. Attendance at all program activities is mandatory. Absences need to be made up in a thoroughly detailed fashion. Full-day absences beyond five cannot be made up and will result in an automatic loss of credit.
3. Tardiness is not acceptable. You are expected to be on time and prepared.
4. In cases where illness or an emergency precludes a student from attending a program activity, the student will notify the faculty in writing, by phone, or verbally prior to the beginning of that activity.
5. Incompletes shall be granted only in emergency situations.
6. Be willing to take thoughtful risks.
7. Be sensitive to and cooperative with the needs of people with schedules and responsibilities different from one’s own. For example, many members of the program may have outside work, childcare issues, and other commitments.
8. Faculty shall notify in writing anyone who is in danger of losing credit. This shall be done as soon as the loss of credit becomes imminent.
9. Students agree to approach their work with dedication and invest the necessary time and energy to produce significant results.
10. Students will keep a program portfolio containing program materials, notes on the readings, notes from program meetings, and reflections.
11. The faculty shall allow adequate time for students to complete assignments. Due dates will be announced at the time the work is assigned. Late assignments will not be accepted for credit except in extraordinary circumstances that were beyond the student's control. Faculty have no desire to be policemen or accountants; we know responsible work when we see it.


Last Updated: 02/27/2004