In this program we will explore American culture and history by immersing ourselves in our American Stories. We believe that in telling a story we not only describe ourselves, but we also explain, interpret, and justify what we do and believe.  Stories help us articulate our differences and our similarities to other peoples. Stories thus convey the values we want to say publicly about ourselves. We assume that what it means to be American resides in the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves. We will explore how we legitimate institutions and practices and how we have become American by listening to, contesting, and believing these stories.  We will ask what is a story? How does it come into existence and take form. How are stories affected by the medium through which they are created and shared?  What are critical American stories and how have they shaped the world within which we live and the persons we have become?

In this program, as we construct these understandings, we are also creating a community within which we can share both intellectual and personal understandings. This community forms the context for conversation among us. Conversing well means that we have to be conscious and self-reflective about how we speak and act, how we use our time, and how we do our work individually and collectively. That is, we cannot assume that community will happen to us naturally; rather, we have to choose the principles by which we will live and the activities we will support.

For us community entails sustaining disagreement, differences, and diversity in a spirit of equality; it does not always mean agreement and uniformity. In order for us to successfully build our understandings within our community, each one of us must agree to the following principles and actions:

1) Respect

To create and participate in a community capable of sustaining intense, but respectful, interaction and discourse we must:

  • strive to be aware of how our actions affect others and be honest with others about how their actions affect us;
  • read and act in accordance with the Evergreen Social Contract (, and the Student Conduct Code ( .
  • give all people opportunity and encouragement to speak;
  • maintain a reflective and respectful approach to the study of our own and others’ experiences and knowledge.
  • Cell phones must be turned off and web surfing, e-mail, and the like is not allowed in class.

2) Engagement

To be engaged in our individual and community work means generating and sharing personal interpretations and understandings such that we make the material and ideas our own. Doing so requires, at a minimum, fulfilling our responsibilities to:

  • attend class and keep appointments punctually (five minutes after the scheduled beginning of class doors will be closed and students will have wait for a break before entering class);
  • prepare assignments and evaluations promptly, as late work not accepted;
  • notify the group of intended absences and schedule changes;
  • attend and be actively involved in all program sessions unless prevented by sickness or outside responsibilities.

3) Special Responsibilities of Students: A distinctive ( arguably the distinctive) feature of Evergreen is student responsibility and self direction in undertaking their work at the College. In this context students are expected to

  • attend all all-program events, seminars, and workshops except when illness or other serious circumstances prevent attendance (Students need to notify faculty on the day they miss class by phone or e-mail. Three absences are permitted each quarter without loss of credit.
  • do all required assignments, including maintaining a journal, essays, workshop homework, responses to peers’ drafts of essays, readings, and other occasional tasks in full and on time; (If assignments are incomplete and/or not turned in on the due date loss of credit may occur. To earn full credit students must participate in discussion of complete drafts of all their writing assignments.)
  • maintain a portfolio of your work and evaluations;
  • write a self-evaluation and faculty evaluation, a final transcript evaluation, and participate in an evaluation conference each quarter;
  • as is consonant with Evergreen’s mediation process, take up any grievance about a member of the teaching team with that person first and only then, if the results are unsatisfactory, ask for consultation with the faculty team.
  • in addition to these responsibilities there will be additional specific responsibilities developed regarding our work in spring quarter.

4) Special Responsibilities of Faculty:

  • during the fifth week of each quarter notify students who as of mid-quarter will not receive full credit for that quarter;
  • give prompt and carefully considered responses to student work;
  • make time available for individual conferences with students;
  • handle all disputes in a spirit of respect and goodwill;
  • refrain from talking with students about students’ problems with other faculty members, except with the permission of the other faculty involved or in joint consultation with said faculty–and then only after the students themselves have talked about the problems with the faculty member in question;
  • conduct their interactions with each other collaboratively and professionally, and actively participate in faculty seminars and business and planning meetings.

5) Academic Honesty

In an academic community sharing, and taking responsibility for our own ideas is vital. At the same time, acknowledging our use of other people’s ideas is equally important. The work we submit must reflect our own ideas. When we are incorporating the views of others, be those published authors or our seminar mates, we must acknowledge our sources. Since much of the work in this program will be collaborative and the ensuing ideas will reflect the contributions of more than one person, we must get into the habit of acknowledging the people and ideas that have influenced us. There will be many times when we will be asked to take individual positions–in essays, research projects, and seminar discussions–and we must assert our own distinctive interpretations and judgments. The final work we do must reflect our own judgment and analysis while also recognizing the contributions of people who have influenced our learning. This means that it is important to cite and acknowledge the contributions of others informally for oral work and through formal citations, (APA Format) in written work.

Failure to make such acknowledgments or to present the work of others as our own is plagiarism. Any student who plagiarizes material will be asked to leave the program and may be required to leave the college. Because college policy makes the consequences of plagiarism so severe, ask your faculty members if you have any questions.

6) Resolving Conflicts

Academic and personal conflicts are common and to be expected in academic communities. The Social Contract lays out expectations about how we all should deal with such conflicts:

Evergreen can thrive only if members respect the rights of others while enjoying their own rights. … All [members of the community] must share alike in prizing academic and interpersonal honesty, in responsibly obtaining and in providing full and accurate information, and in resolving their differences through due process and with a strong will to collaboration. (The Social Contract–WAC 174-120-020)

We expect all members of the program to abide by these principles of honest and face-to-face resolution of conflicts. In the event you do not feel successful in resolving a conflict, bring your concerns to the attention of your seminar leader or to the faculty team. Any conflicts that cannot be resolved by your own efforts, those of your seminar leader, or the faculty team, will be referred to our program dean or other mutually agreed upon mediator.

Any disputes about credit or the content of an evaluation must first be addressed to the faculty member who wrote the evaluation. If a student is not satisfied by a discussion with the faculty member involved; the issue will be brought before the faculty team. The program faculty will make final decisions about credit and evaluations.

7) Credit Policy

Faculty will award each student 16 credits per quarter for doing college-level work, for attendance and punctuality at all program events, and for completing all assignments on time. Faculty may award less than sixteen credits for work which fails to meet these criteria, but they will do so only after consultation with each other.