Getting Grounded: Geology & Art 


Fall 2004

Student/Faculty Covenant

Subject matter and Goals

Getting Grounded is a Core program, which presumes that you are a first-year college student, or this is your first year at The Evergreen State College. Our expectations of you will be high and you should plan on devoting 40 hours per week to this course.  This program was designed to introduce you to the fundamentals of physical geology, drawing and ceramics, and selected topics in art history and humanities.  You are not expected to have any previous experience in these fields but we are prepared to accommodate students with a wide range of expertise.

Expectations for Student Learning

By the end of this program, we expect that you will have demonstrated proficiency in and/or knowledge of:

• An appreciation of the relationship between science and art;

• Basic skills in observing and recording geologic information in the field and lab;

• Fundamental drawing and ceramics skills and the use of these media to convey ideas;

• The ability to effectively critique your own and other others’ work;

• Skills for working effectively in groups;

• An ability to communicate clearly through writing and speaking;

• Scientific methods for creative problem solving;

• Critical thinking as demonstrated through written work and discussions.

Mastery of these topics will be demonstrated through discussions, group activities, study questions and other written work, participation in the labs, studio work, quizzes and exams. The quality of work, level of understanding, effort and extent of improvement all will be important in evaluation.

Commitments of the faculty to the students

We agree to enter into a learning community with you and the other students and to:

• Prepare for, participate in, and guide learning from lectures, laboratories, field trips, discussions of the texts, workshops, studio work;

• Read, evaluate, and return your work with reasonable dispatch;

• Respond to students’ questions and concerns about the material, pace, and/or organization of the program;

• Be available at least one hour per week for individual student concerns;

• Keep students informed about their progress and notify students by the end of the fifth of the term if her/his work is not satisfactory;

• Be aware of our own needs as scholars and as human beings, reserving the right to reevaluate and adjust the pace of the program should it be deemed necessary to achieve personal and program goals;

• Provide for a written evaluation of each student’s work at the end of each term following the guidelines of section 7.620 in the Faculty Handbook.


Faculty expectations of students

We expect a high degree of personal commitment from you—to your own learning, to group work, and to the class as a whole.  The basic assumption of this program is that learning results from a continuing process of rational discourse.  You have opportunities to learn about a variety of subjects and your responsibilities are to maximize your learning from the program, maximize the learning of your classmates, and apply what you have learned.

Student Responsibilities

1. Carefully read all written material passed out in class.  We spend a great deal of time anticipating your questions and developing handouts to assist your learning–Read them!  If you have questions or something is unclear, ask!

2. Come on time to all lectures, seminars, field trips, studio sessions and laboratories—with any assigned readings, problem sets, written work, or projects completed.  This class is structured around interactive discussions.  Your presence is crucial, both for yourself and for your classmates.  Furthermore, it is rude, selfish and insensitive to expect others to wait for you to show up.  If you miss class sessions call us and let us know the reason for your absence.  Otherwise we will assume you are goofing off.  We recognize that “Life Happens” and that, from time to time, emergencies may arise...usually we can work something out.

3. Turn in all required assignments on time. You should not expect the faculty to read or comment on work received late.

4. Discuss any problems or issues with the involved parties as soon as possible.  During this program, you may experience problems that affect your understanding and progress.  If another student is involved, discuss the situation with him/her.  If you can not reach a mutually agreeable resolution, or if the faculty are involved, please come and talk with us ASAP.  It is much easier to resolve these situations early instead of letting them grow and fester.

5. Show a positive, cooperative attitude towards the faculty, other students, and the program as a whole—this is of primary importance in this program.  We will depend on students working together and helping one another.  Those who understand are encouraged to help those who don’t.  Share what you know in such a way so as not to belittle others for not knowing.

6. Maintain a portfolio of all your work neatly organized by topic, including writing assignments, field notebooks, art work and exams that we return to you.

7. Participate fully and cooperatively in group-activities, including workshops, labs, and study groups.  Inform us promptly of difficulties, confusions, or problems with any aspect of the program.

8. Write a detailed, thoughtful self-evaluation that reflects achievement in the program at the end of the term.  This self-evaluation is intended to be a reflective exercise, and may become the basis of your final evaluation by the faculty.

9. Write a thoughtful faculty evaluation at the end of the term and deliver it to us, or to our program secretaries by the time of the evaluation conference at the end of the term.  Evergreen is based on mutual evaluation and this is an important component of your education.  We will not award credit until you have turned in both a self- and faculty evaluation.

Requirements for Awarding of Credit

Credit will be awarded for participating in and completing the entire body of work for the program at an acceptable level of demonstrated competency.  Evaluations of your work will be based upon attendance, participation in discussions and group work, written work, projects and performance on quizzes and examinations.  The quality of your work, the level of your understanding, and the extent of your improvement will all be reflected in your evaluation.  A comment about promptness or lateness of work will be included in your evaluation.  All work must be completed by the end of the term.

Each student who regularly attends and participates in all program activities, who satisfactorily completes the exams and all assignments, and who turns in self- and faculty evaluations—all with acceptable content and quality—can expect to receive full credit.  Any student whose work appears not to be meeting standards for credit will be so informed by the faculty in writing by the end of the fifth or sixth week of the term with suggestions for improvement.  However, students who do not receive a written mid-term warning may be denied credit based on unsatisfactory performance after the fifth week. 

Any student who plagiarizes material through failure to attribute and acknowledge sources or through failure to acknowledge joint authorship, or who cheats on quizzes or exams is liable to lose all credit for the quarter.  Any student who uses drugs or alcohol during program activities or attends program activities under the influence of drugs or alcohol is liable to lose all credit for the quarter and/or be expelled from the College.

Satisfactory completion of all the course work is expected for full credit.  In rare cases, partial credit will be awarded for partial completion of the course work.  Incompletes generally will not be granted.  They will be considered only in very extenuating circumstances.  Incompletes may be given in case of illness, but a physician’s written notification will be required.  Such incompletes must be completed by the 1st week of the subsequent quarter. 


Students will be expected to be considerate of others in the program, and respectful of others, even when disagreements arise.  Violations of Evergreen’s Social Contract, as outlined in your Student Handbook, may result in the college taking action.  This program is designed to include frequent and extensive field trips. In order to have a successful academic experience field trip all students must purport themselves in a mature manner.  Specifically, absolutely no use of alcohol or drugs will be allowed on any field trip.  Use of either of these substances, which is against the College rules, as well as several State laws, will result in the expulsion of the students involved from the program and possibly from the College.  This behavior may also jeopardize all of the students in the program, in that future field trips may be canceled.


Evergreen has a long-standing policy that conflicts should, if at all possible, be resolved through respectful, face-to-face discourse.  Students agree to the following steps should a conflict arise within another student.  Step 1.  Inform the other person that a problem exists and initiate an open discussion.  Step 2.  Should no satisfactory resolution be obtained, the student shall inform the faculty, who will initiate dialogue with the involved students.   Step 3.  If step 2 is not successful, a neutral third party will be asked to mediate and seek resolution within the program.  Step 4.  If step 3 is unsuccessful, the neutral third party will ask the responsible Academic Dean to intervene.  Should a student have a conflict with the faculty, including disagreement over the content of his or her evaluation, he or she should follow steps 2 through 4 above as appropriate. 


By your continued enrollment in this program, you hereby acknowledge, accept and agree to the conditions outlined herein.