Teaching Modes


Evergreen makes use of several important and distinct modes or formats of instruction

Coordinated Studies

A team of faculty (usually 2 to 4) and a group of students (usually 25 per faculty member) studying a common theme or problem together, drawing on ideas and materials from several disciplines. Many or most of its students will be enrolled for full-time work, so the coordinated study should provide sufficient range and intensity of activities to justify the award of full-time credit. Each faculty team is substantially free to determine its material, design its activities, make up its schedule and conduct experiments in curriculum design and teaching, provided that:

  • a. the team holds a regular faculty seminar and exchanges evaluations with one another;
  • b. the teaching remains within the general program description approved by the council of coordinators and the deans; and
  • c. the program's use of money, facilities and other resources is within its allocation from the deans.

Group Contract

A one or two faculty program, with a group of students (usually 25 per faculty member), studying a single topic in depth. Group contracts are usually at an intermediate- or advanced-level of work and often draw their material from only one or two disciplines, although the college also encourages more interdisciplinary designs when consistent with the background and abilities of the faculty. The same need to provide for full-time study applies as to coordinated studies, and the same freedom of action within the constraints of general description and resource allocation. Faculty teaching alone in group contracts must join a faculty seminar or work out alternate arrangements.

Individual Contract

An individual study program negotiated between a student and faculty sponsor. The student agrees verbally and in writing to complete some specified activities--readings, field work, internship activities, artistic productions, writing papers, etc.--while the sponsor agrees to provide appropriate support, such as regular consultation and advice. Experience strongly suggests that individual contracts are most successful for advanced students already familiar with the college. While there is no outright prohibition against contracts by first year students or those new to Evergreen, they have often proved unsatisfactory in depth and extent of learning, and they are, therefore, recommended for advanced study only.

The student will carry only one learning contract at a time and have one faculty or staff sponsor. Other persons whose assistance is essential to the completion of the contract must be represented on the official form as "subcontractors." The contract sponsor will negotiate with the prospective student or students and will be responsible for estimating the potential worth of the undertaking. The sponsor also bears the sole responsibility for the awarding of credit as the completion of a contract.

The range of possible activities under contract is great: reading or research projects entailing the collection, processing and interpreting of data from documentary, laboratory or field investigation; mathematics; computer languages; creative work in visual art, music and writing; biological or archeological expeditions; internships in a newspaper office, governmental agencies, education or business settings. Students may work entirely on their own, in groups or teams, perhaps even doing identical, formally agreed upon activities.

The written learning contract serves to specify the terms of the agreement reached between student and faculty member as to extent and nature of activities, tangible products (such as papers) and the basis for evaluation. Once signed, it becomes a commitment by both persons to do or provide what it specifies. It must, therefore, be carefully written and not lightly agreed to. It becomes part of the student's permanent record; a copy goes in the faculty member's portfolio. Thus, it should also be in perfect typographical order.

A contract must be written, signed by student and sponsor, and given to the sponsor's program secretary before the student can register for the quarter. The contract then goes to the sponsor's dean (of group) for a review which has two functions: 1) critical editing and advice about the contract's form and educational content, where the dean's comments are advisory, possibly to the point of formal additions to the faculty member's portfolio, but not binding; and 2) checking that the contract is consistent with college policies, where the dean may veto a contract which violates college policy if consultation with the sponsor and any other appropriate people does not produce an acceptable modification.

There will be no "contracts after the fact." All contracts will be aimed at the earning of credit for activities to be performed, not for activities which have already taken place. Prior unaccredited experience can be recognized only through the passing of standardized tests or other demonstrations of competence, which include the ability to conceptualize the principles and values related to that experience, or through the Prior Learning From Experience office. Contracts involving internships also have additional requirements and must be arranged through APEL.

Courses (or modules)

The foregoing modes comprise the principal academic "home" of students enrolled in them. Credit and evaluations are filed through the student's principal faculty member (in coordinated studies) or sponsor (in group or individual contracts). As a complement to these modes of study, Evergreen's curriculum also includes a number of courses. At present, the typical course carries 4 quarter-hours. Most are offered after 5:30 p.m. on week days. The college has two goals in offering such courses: 1) service to full-time, degree-seeking students through instruction in certain basic skills and content (e.g., in artistic technique, introductory mathematics or foreign language); and 2) access to college instruction for part-time students, especially those who work and can only attend during evening or weekend hours. Each quarter the deans select a slate of course offerings, and these, together with those coordinated studies and group contracts which contain components specifically directed at part-time students, become the Evening and Weekend Studies' offerings for the quarter. Part-time offerings are published quarterly in the Evergreen Times.

For students there are two distinct forms of participation in courses. A student may choose to enroll only in courses, up to 16 credits per quarter. In such a case, the faculty member who teaches the course files an evaluation (combined with a short description of the course) directly with Registration and Records. Alternatively, a student may be enrolled in a coordinated studies, group contract or individual contract. In this case, s/he may enroll in a course with the permission of the principal faculty member (providing the total number of credits for the quarter does not exceed 16 quarter-hours). The course faculty member retains full authority for award of credit to such a student, but files his/her evaluation by sending it to the faculty member for incorporation in the full evaluation of the student's work for the quarter. Some full-time programs have a sufficiently heavy schedule that no course enrollment is permitted, but others provide opportunity for students to enroll in one course concurrently.

Auditors are welcome in some courses, if the faculty sponsor agrees and provided their presence does not represent a drain on college resources. Hence, they are generally not allowed in courses which use laboratory or studio facilities and where any participation requires significant faculty attention (e.g., in teaching group process skills) and similar situations.

Some courses are taught by regular Evergreen faculty as part of their teaching assignments for the given quarter. Assignment to teach a course is typically linked with reduced student load in full-time programs or individual contracts. It has not been college practice to provide extra compensation for regular faculty to teach courses. Some courses, especially in arts and computing, are taught by Evergreen staff as part of their regular job descriptions. In these cases also, no extra compensation is provided. The college also regularly appoints part-time adjunct faculty on a quarter-by-quarter basis to meet specific needs. Qualified Evergreen staff are sometimes hired as adjuncts when their regular jobs do not include specific teaching assignments. Adjunct faculty members who teach the part-time courses are paid on a scale proportional to the regular faculty scale (see Section 5.150).

The college reserves the right to cancel courses in any quarter if their final enrollment is less than ten students.