Evolving Communication: Student/Faculty Covenant

Fall 2007-Winter 2008

Subject Matter and Goals

Evolving Communication is an interdisciplinary inquiry into the nature of communication, its systems, and its evolution.  This inquiry is broad, involving communication in the natural world and human language.  It is also deep, requiring a thorough understanding of concepts in biology and linguistics. The reading may require 8 hours of your time each week, and perhaps more, depending on how you take notes and how fast you read various types of material.  There are two weekly writing assignments as well as linguistic analysis questions to complete, which will take from 5-8 hours each week.  We will have quizzes every two weeks, and a final exam.  In addition you will participate in a group project and write your own final essay based on that project. All of this work is designed to help you learn to analyze, synthesize, think critically, and gain a voice (both literally and metaphorically).  We have high expectations of your work, and hope to allow many of you to gain upper division science or linguistics credit in winter quarter.  The work fall quarter is preparatory to that, and you must get full credit in fall to be considered for this option of upper division science or linguistics credit.  You should plan on devoting at least 40 hours per week to this program.  If you do not have 40 hours of focused time available each week, and can't rearrange your life to obtain them, we recommend choosing a different program.

It is essential that all members of the program show respect for others, maintain civil discourse, and adhere to the Social Contract (

The faculty assume that students are able to meet the college-level requirements of the program.  For help with writing, students should schedule time with a writing tutor in the Writing Center.  If students have learning disabilities, they should contact Access Services (867-6348) and inform themselves of the resources the college offers.  In addition, it is very important to inform your seminar leader of your disability at the earliest possible date so that accommodations can be made.  If you have other responsibilities that result in your not meeting program requirements, it is essential that you speak with your seminar leader to discuss the ways in which you can minimize credit loss.

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 through lectures, discussions, workshops, field trips, and research projects;
  • Read, evaluate, and return your work promptly;
  • Respond to your concerns about the material and/or pace of the program;
  • Have time available most weeks for one-on-one conferences by appointment;
  • Notify you by the end of the sixth week of the term if your work is not satisfactory;
  • Provide a written evaluation of each student's work at the end of the term.

Faculty expectations of students

Students will:

  • 1. Carefully read the syllabus and all other handouts.

•2.      Come regularly and on time to all class activities, with any assigned readings or work completed. Turn in all required assignments on time. We will not accept late work.

  • 3. Discuss any problems or issues with the involved parties as soon as possible.
  • 4. Show a positive, cooperative attitude towards the faculty, other students, and the program as a whole.
  • 5. Maintain a portfolio of all your work, to be submitted at the end of the term.
  • 6. Write a thoughtful self-evaluation at the end of the term which will be included in your transcript.
  • 7. Write thoughtful evaluations of each faculty member at the end of the program.

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.   See the "First day handout" for details.

  • 1. 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 levels of quality-can expect to receive full credit. You will lose credit or receive lower-division credit for poor or incomplete work on exams, research projects, or other assignments.
  • 2. Any student who plagiarizes material through failure to attribute and acknowledge sources, or who cheats on quizzes or exams, may lose all credit for the quarter.
  • 3. It is important to recognize that attending and engaging in class discussion is essential in order to produce high quality written work and exams. Therefore, if you miss more than the equivalent of one week of class, or do not hand in required work, you will receive reduced credit. Failure to complete any aspect of the program, or to abide by the covenant, will result in loss of credit. Incompletes will not be granted: all work must be completed by the end of each term.

Grievance Procedures

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 with another student. 

  • 1. Inform the other person that a problem exists and initiate an open discussion.
  • 2. Should no satisfactory resolution be obtained, the student shall inform the faculty members, who will initiate dialogue with the involved students.
  • 3. If step 2 is not successful, a neutral third party will be asked to mediate.
  • 4. If step 3 is unsuccessful, the neutral third party will ask an Academic Dean to intervene. Should a student have a conflict with the faculty, including disagreement over the content of his or her evaluation, s/he should follow steps 2 - 4 above as appropriate.

Students leaving the program

A student may be asked to leave the program for failure to meet the guidelines set forth in this covenant, or for behavior that is consistently disruptive or antagonistic to the program or its participants.

Acknowledgment of Covenant

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