Program and Community Agreements

Covenants are crucial elements of program design. They should explain the responsibilities of faculty and students in your program, attendance policy and address the acceptance (or non-acceptance) of late assignments. Most refer to the social contract, or cite parts of it in order to reinforce the notion of civil discourse and behavior:

We are required by the CBA (6.2.2) to give students a covenant in our programs, but it is also a good practice so that everyone understands the ground rules.

Here we have several types of covenants which may help you:

  • This “constitution” was used in a program focused on the law. The faculty—Sarah Ryan and Arlene Sandifer—gave students an outline with the headings, divided the students into groups, and the students wrote the text. They projected the draft on a screen and then voted on it. Sarah copied the last page of each student’s constitution (which contained the student’s signature and goals) and returned the document to them. Immigration: History, Law, Controversy – Class Constitution (or covenant) (.doc)
  • This covenant from Nancy Murray, Thad Curtz, and Chuck Pailthorp includes an explanation of lab notebooks, projects, and other activities that students will be doing as well as some rules from John Cage. Perception (.doc)
  • This covenant from Nancy Murray is a numbered list of responsibilities and guidelines and includes a quote from Miguel Ruiz: Human Health and Development (.doc)
  • This covenant by Mark Hurst in a half-time program includes faculty responsibilities: Positive Psychology (.doc)
  • This covenant by Toska Olson and Susan Fiksdal is brief and does not ask for a signature. Instead, students are advised that if they continue in the program, they have agreed to abide by it: Gender Performances (.doc)