Consider: Are we, those of us here in this program in this college today, living a Good life?
Program Learning Goals
By pursuing answers to the complex questions discussed in the program description and completing the related program work, you will demonstrate your competency with respect to each of the following learning goals, which are modeled after the “Expectations of an Evergreen Graduate”:
- Articulating and assuming responsibility for your own work.
- Working collaboratively.
- Communicating clearly through writing, speaking and other forms of intelligences.
- Thinking creatively, critically, and holistically, as demonstrated through a variety of program activities.
- Examining prior knowledge, integrating new information and synthesizing insights from a broad range of resources.
You will also address your own personal goals, which speak directly to the content and methodologies of The Art of Living Consciously. You will discuss your learning toward these goals in your self-evaluation and during your discussions with faculty. The following are four questions, which we have borrowed from versions of the Native American Studies Program at the College:
- What do I want to learn?
- How am I going to learn it?
- How am I going to know I am finished learning it?
- What difference will it make?
We will be using these questions to provide a framework for you to address and evaluate the program content, as well as your research activities.
Program Structure and Content
People should take care of one another and make it possible for people to care for themselves. (If this all works, you should be “able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day.”) This is an all-level program, which means our learning community is comprised of a range of students from first-year students to seniors, including transfer students. One component of your community will be the peer group. Experience shows that the recipe for a successful peer group includes the required weekly meeting (preferably on Thursday) of 4 or 6 committed people, the sharing of food, and a home-like environment; shake or stir all ingredients and enjoy.
Choose one person in the peer group to be your own “editor of first resort” who will read everything you write this quarter. It might sound strange, given how closely you will work with this one colleague, but choosing your editing partner is not a big deal. The big deal will be learning how best to use your editor.
Peer groups serve several purposes. Among them are:
- To support the Program Covenant, which requires attendance at all program activities. You should always let your peer group colleagues know of your absence from a program activity, in part, so they can notify the faculty in case you don’t. Your colleagues will tell you what you missed and what is necessary to catch up, and they’ll help you catch up.
- To provide support for individual research projects and other written work. All written work must be thoroughly reviewed by two colleagues—your editor of first resort and one other person from your peer group—before submission to faculty.
- To provide you with an intimate, small-scale forum for your ideas about the program materials.
Two seminars each week
Seminars are a privilege and each of you is expected to be well-prepared in advance for each of the discussions. Seminars are a cornerstone of the program work and a crucible for the activities of our learning community. Traditionally, seminars are student-centered and student led, but every seminar is different, and interpersonal dynamics have as much to do with successful seminars as do preparedness and intellectual engagement in conversation. The faculty will create three seminar groups, and each group will spend time developing a variety of strategies for success. Regarding the logistics of seminar, read Stringfellow Barr’s “Notes on Dialogue”. Barr was president of St. John’s College, another place that thought seminars are the heart of education. His “notes” are a guide to bringing texts—indeed, all of our work—to life.
[available at http://www.stjohnscollege.edu/about/dialogue.shtml]
Monday Seminars: On Mondays in weeks 2-9, seminar groups meet without the faculty members and conduct a seminar on the week’s readings. Each seminar group will need to designate someone to take responsibility for clearly marking the division of time between “chit chat” and “seminar” and, if the discussion tends back toward the former, for raising the question of whether the seminar has ended or if people want it to continue to discuss the common reading. Come to the seminar with two copies of your typed “Seminar Ticket” (see below). You will use these to help focus the seminar discussion and you will spend the last half hour of the Monday seminar time having your seminar ticket edited by a member of your peer group who is your “editor of first resort”. That person will provide written feedback directly on your seminar ticket and you will use that feedback and other insights that you gained during the seminar to re-draft the seminar ticket for the following day’s seminar.
Additioally, by 4 pm on Monday, send an individual email to your faculty (email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com) and to all the members of your peer group about the Monday seminar and the rest of the day that intervened between the conclusion of the seminar and the composition of your correspondence. This e-letter will allow you and your addressees to get a deeper sense for something that happened in this seminar. It should be written in two parts:
- Part One: a description of something that actually happened in seminar (which is not a report claiming or asserting that things happened or seemed to have happened; a description requires more detail). This will be challenging, but try to present a real event in written form. Work to reveal to yourself and others what you thought and what you found important or distracting; this writing will be part of your learning (not just a matter of more schoolish documentation). If you do not attempt an imaginative description of something that happened, your writing will be returned so you can give it another go. Remember: you have readers, not “graders”, on the end of your line.
- Part Two: the questions that remain open and alive for you after the seminar (i.e., questions you pursued only to encounter new questions or revised versions of your original objects of pursuit). THIS IS NOT YOUR REVISED SEMINAR TICKET FOR TUESDAY.
Tuesday Seminars: On Tuesdays, a seminar will follow faculty comments on the text(s) at the all program meeting. We’ll seminar on the book(s), but you should also raise concerns or questions you may have about the faculty’s remarks. You will also come prepared with one copy of your typed, redrafted “seminar ticket”.
THIS IS NOT THE EMAIL YOU SEND TO YOUR FACULTY AFTER THE MONDAY SEMINAR. Part of the preparation that we ask of you is to write a “Seminar Ticket” each week before the Monday seminar. Check the web site at the end of each week for the Next Week’s seminar ticket prompt. It will be posted not later than Thursday night. We may ask for a written paper, an expressive response to the reading, a poem, or anything else that we think will help bring you into a deeper relationship with the coming week’s materials. You will re-draft your Monday seminar ticket, based upon the feedback you received at the end of the Monday seminar from your “editor of first resort”. Bring one typed copy of the new version to the Tuesday seminar.
Expressive Arts Lab
You will participate in a movement and/or integrative expressive arts experience together each week. Bring your Integrative Journal (see below) and art supplies to this lab every Thursday morning. We will supply each student with pastels and colored pencils by Tuesday of week 2 (feel free to bring your own supplies as well).
Get an 8 ½ x11″ sketch journal and put your name on it. The purpose of this journal is to keep a record of how you are integrating the program work into your daily life. This is where you will collect reflective writings and drawings that we assign in class as well as writing and other work that you will do at home. It is a place where you can explore the patterns that have helped shape the relationship between your mind, body and spirit, and where you can develop a deeper understanding of the way program themes relate to you as an individual and as a member of our learning community. The journal will serve as a reservoir of information about yourself from which you will be able to draw rich material for many program activities.
At the end of each week, in class on Thursday, you will create a one-page written synthesis and a visual image, poem, or song that demonstrates the connections you have made with program work. Date and title these entries and clearly mark them as your weekly syntheses. Other entries will be made during some of the class activities. Bring your Integrative Journal and art supplies every Thursday.
In keeping with Michael Stone’s argument in Yoga For a World Out of Balance that “sooner or later our actions, like seeds, will bear fruit” (p. 49), during the middle of the quarter we will undertake an experiment examining how placing our attention on each of the Yamas might or might not have some effect on our lives. For each of five weeks, you will focus on one particular yama and track the impact on your life. More on this in class.
Independent Research Project
Each student is responsible for creating a 4-credit final independent research project. This project is designed to provide you with the opportunity to explore a topic that is central to our program’s themes and to present your findings to the community in week ten. Faculty approval of your Independent Research Project is required. You will receive a detailed handout about this in Week 1.
Other assignments may include questions for guest speakers, unannounced in-class essays on the assigned readings, in-class writings in a journal intended specifically for your personal insights or anything your faculty might dream up along the way.
A final portfolio (a big 3-ring binder) displaying your quarter’s work is a requirement for credit. This portfolio will be a significant resource for your faculty in crafting your evaluation. Therefore, it should be well organized and reflect pride in your accomplishments. Don’t throw anything away until the program is over. The portfolio will include your self-evaluation and it will be submitted to your faculty at the end of the term. You’ll receive additional information about how to organize your portfolio before it is due for submission.
Self-Evaluations In keeping with the wisdom with which the college was founded, self-assessment is an integral part of learning in our program. During weeks 1, 6 and 10 you will be asked to reflect upon and integrate your own learning into a narrative self-evaluation.
Students will meet individually with their seminar faculty at the end of each quarter. Do Not schedule travel before December 17th until you have scheduled your evaluation conference. Also, Do Not let anyone else schedule travel for you before that time. Failure to be present for your evaluation conference can result in a loss of credit.