Contemporary Social Issues: Analyzing Critically, Arguing Persuasively

Fall and Winter, 2004-05

Program Covenant
(Please read this covenant. Print or copy the concluding statement and give it to your seminar leader.)


  A. Expectations for students' learning 
  B. Factors to be counted in evaluation process 
  C. Level of performance expected of students 

  A. Evaluation of students 
  B. Evaluation conferences 
  C. Grievance procedures 
  D. Credit 
  E. Academic Honesty 
  F. Students may be asked to leave the program 
  G. Alcohol or drug use 



It is the responsibility of each student and faculty to read all program documents and raise any questions he or she may have about the content. 


A.  EXPECTATIONS FOR STUDENTS' LEARNING.  Students and faculty will work individually and collaboratively to realize the basic goals of the program.  The faculty will combine their respective disciplinary perspectives in an effort to help students develop the ability to conceptualize and understand the concepts developed in the program, and to improve on their research, writing, analytical thinking, and quantitative abilities.

All students will participate actively in the assignments and the various meetings of the program.  Attendance and participation in all program activities is a requirement.  Students will arrive on time for all program activities. 

B.  FACTORS TO BE COUNTED IN THE EVALUATION PROCESS.  Students will be evaluated at the end of each quarter for the following: the satisfactory completion of assignments; active participation in meetings; improvement of academic skills; and demonstration of understanding of the themes, issues, and techniques under discussion.  Seminar leaders will form their evaluations by examining the writing students post and submit, their comments in discussion, the projects they present, completed quizzes and exams, and the strength of their self-evaluation. 

C.  LEVEL OF PERFORMANCE EXPECTED OF THE STUDENTS.  The faculty shall assume that students have well-rounded college level skills.  In case of deficiencies in basic skills, students are expected to work with the Learning Resource Center, the Quantitative Reasoning Center and program tutors.  The faculty members do not assume that students initially will be conversant with critical terminology or special techniques for discussing the works to be assigned.  We assume that by the end of the program, students will have developed the ability--both in the terminology appropriate for more advanced discussion and in their own works--to think, to speak, and to write about the issues and themes of the program.  In addition, they will have improved their ability to participate in the collaborative intellectual activity of the seminar. 


A.  EVALUATION OF STUDENTS.  Each faculty member will evaluate students in his or her seminar using the input of the other faculty members.  Incomplete status will be granted only for reasons of family crisis, illness, or similar emergencies.  Evaluation conferences will be held twice: half way and at the end of the the academic year. 
Credit is not the same as positive evaluation.  Students receive credit for fulfilling minimum requirements and standards.  The evaluation is a statement describing the quality of the student's work.  It is possible for a student to receive credit but receive an evaluation that describes poor quality work.  It is also possible for a student to attend regularly yet receive no or reduced credit because of unsatisfactory performance. 

B.  EVALUATION CONFERENCES.  Unless different arrangements have been made with your seminar leader, students should plan on being available for evaluation conferences the weeks of December 13-17, 2004 and March 14-18, 2005. 

At both evaluation conferences, students will submit a final, typed, formal evaluation of their seminar leader.  Students will submit a draft self-evaluation before the conference and will submit a final, typed, formal self-evaluation by the end of evaluation week. Students have the option of submitting their evaluation of faculty to the program secretary, who will not release it to the faculty until the faculty's finalevaluations have been completed.

C.  GRIEVANCE PROCEDURES.  If a student has a grievance, the following steps must be taken in order: 
 1.  Take up the concern with the parties involved in the grievance.  If not resolved: 
 2.  Meet with the seminar leader.  If still not resolved: 
 3.  Meet with the faculty team.  If still not resolved: 
 4.  Meet with the academic dean.

D. CREDIT.  Sixteen quarter hours of credit will be awarded each quarter for satisfactory completion of program requirements.  Requirements for credit are the same in all seminars, and standards will be discussed by the faculty team to ensure that they are applied uniformly in all seminars. 

E.  ACADEMIC HONESTY.  Students and faculty acknowledge and accept that in an academic community, sharing and taking responsibility for our own ideas is vital.  Acknowledging our use of other people's ideas is equally important.  Work that students submit must reflect their own ideas.  When we are incorporating the views of others, be those published authors or our seminar mates, we must acknowledge our sources.  Since some of the work in this program will be collaborative and the ensuing ideas may reflect the contributions of more than one person, we must get in the habit of acknowledging the people and ideas that have influenced us. 

There will be 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. 

Students understand that presenting the work of others as their own or failing to acknowledge their use of other people's ideas is plagiarism.  Any student who plagiarizes materials will be asked to leave the program and may be required to leave the college. 

F. STUDENTS MAY BE ASKED TO LEAVE THE PROGRAM.   If a student repeatedly disrupts the attempts of others to learn, one or more of the faculty team members will warn the student that continuation of this behavior will result in his or her dismissal from the program.  If the behavior continues, the faculty team will confer and will ask the person to leave the program. 

G. ALCOHOL OR DRUG USE.  Any use of alcohol or drugs at a program event will be grounds for immediate dismissal from the program. 

The faculty members have agreed to this covenant by the act of writing it.  By continuing in this program and signing this document, each student recognizes that it specifies the conditions for participating in this program. 

Faculty: Stephanie Coontz, Charles Pailthorp, and Dan Leahy


"I have read and agree to the Program Covenant for Contemporary Social Issues."
Student Name:     ___________________________________ 
Student Signature: ___________________________________ 
(Print or copy this concluding statement and give it to your seminar leader.)







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