Expectations and Covenant


Several years ago, Evergreen adopted six expectations of Evergreen graduates:

  1. Articulate and assume responsibility for your own work.
  2. Participate collaboratively and responsibly in our diverse society.
  3. Communicate creatively and effectively.
  4. Demonstrate integrative, independent, critical thinking.
  5. Apply qualitative, quantitative and creative modes of inquiry appropriately to practical and theoretical problems across disciplines.
  6. As a culmination of your education, demonstrate depth, breadth and synthesis of learning and the ability to reflect on the personal and social significance of that learning.

These expectations are quite general and apply to all students. They refer to the outcome of your education when you graduate. You are at the beginning of your education. Outcomes are far in the distance, and yet it is useful to have these six expectations in mind.

In this program, we have expectations that can be useful references points for you now. They will enable you to practice the habits and skills that can foster Evergreen’s six expectations for graduates. When you read them below, note that they refer to participation, work habits, and punctuality. These are matters of form. They constitute the bare minimum requirements for the program. Successful study of the program’s content depends first on abiding by these matters of form.

Program Covenant – The Human Element

The following specific expectations constitute the substance of our program covenant. The syllabus ends with a statement for you to sign and return to your seminar leader, which says that you have read the covenant and agree to work in the manner prescribed here.

Electronics: During class time, you may not use portable computers, mobile or smart phones, PDAs, or personal music players. If you bring such devices with you, turn them off and stow them away while class is in session. Exceptions to this protocol are possible for students with approved special accommodation requests.

In-class work: Everyone will arrive on time and stay until class is over. Leaving the room during a class shows extreme disrespect for one’s faculty and fellow students. We will have breaks during long sessions. If you miss a class, contact another student to get assignments or handouts, and to get filled in on what happened in class. Then, if you still have questions, come to one of the program faculty. We meet only ten weeks, and for only 12 hours per week. Be sure to contact your seminar leader prior to your absence. Everyone is expected to prepare for, and participate fully in, all class activities. This includes reading aloud in class, both from your own writing and from the course’s texts, participating in all workshops, and coming to class fully prepared to discuss our work in seminar.

Written work: All written work must meet the faculty’s standards for college-level writing.  We will read, critique, and evaluate your work with great care when it has met these standards. If it fails to do so, we will support your efforts to achieve these standards and direct you to campus resources that will support your efforts. All written work must be completed when due. Late essays cannot be accepted.

Academic credit and evaluations: Students who fulfill all the expectations above will earn sixteen (16) quarter hours of college credit per quarter. Faculty may award partial credit to students who fulfill most but not all of them. Bear in mind that The Human Element is an integrated interdisciplinary curriculum. We do not parcel out some credit for some assignments and some for others; one cannot expect to earn, say, eight credits for doing half the work or four for doing a fourth of it. In evaluations between quarters, faculty will candidly assess your work in interim “in-house evaluations,” which will also offer advice and suggestions on ways to improve. When you leave the program, you will receive a formal transcript evaluation, which concisely evaluates your participation in classes and the work you complete outside of classes and include in your portfolio.

Community: In carrying out the curriculum of The Human Element, we are also creating a community. This community forms the context for the intellectual and social engagement with one another. This engagement takes place in 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 need to choose the principles by which we will live and the activities we will support. Our learning community entails sustaining disagreement, differences, and diversity in a spirit of equality; it does not mean agreement and uniformity. In order for us to successfully build our understandings within our community, each 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, the Student Conduct Code, and Sexual Harassment Policy;
  • 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;

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;
  • notify the group of intended absences and schedule changes;
  • attend and be active in all program sessions unless prevented by sickness or outside responsibilities;
  • attend class in a frame of body and mind appropriate to the occasion, free from drugs and alcohol.

3) Special Responsibilities of Students:

  • attend all all-program events, seminars, and workshops except when illness or other serious circumstances prevent attendance. (Students need to notify faculty before they miss class by phone or e-mail to receive an excused absence. Two unexplained absences are permitted each quarter. Further unexplained or extended explained absences will result in loss of credit.);
  • do all required assignments, including maintaining a journal, essays, workshop homework, postings, 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.

4) Special Responsibilities of Faculty:

  • during the fifth week of each quarter, notify students who, as of mid-quarter, are in danger of earning less than full credit;
  • 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. Written work must reflect the difference. 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 our written work 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, projects, and seminar discussions–and we must distinguish between our own distinctive interpretations and judgments, and those on which we rely to make those interpretations. The final work we do must reflect our own judgments and analyses, while recognizing the contributions of people who have influenced our learning.

Failure to make such acknowledgments, or presenting 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. If you are required to use secondary sources in program assignments, your faculty members will instruct you on the methods and conventions used for citation, quotation and reference. 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. If 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 evaluation

(Please copy, sign and give to your seminar leader)

Name ____________________________________________

I have read this covenant and agree to work in the manner prescribed.