Academics

Contract Based Learning in Johnston

“I came to Johnston because I would rather work with the freedom and challenge of designing my own education than follow a pre-determined, non-individualized core that has little interest in my visions, passions, or interests regarding my education and my future. And though the path is personal, the nature of the graduation contract and my advisor's help make the journey one that is, to my great benefit, built on relationships. " —James Boobar, JC class of 2002

Course and program contracts are central to a Johnston Center education. We organize our educational programs with the expectation that you will set individual goals for your learning in a written contract. To best facilitate that learning, we offer you an alternative to competing with and against other students for a numerical grade. At the end of the semester, you write a self evaluation that the faculty member uses to write the final evaluation. We hope the evaluation system encourages students and faculty to focus collaboratively on content and pedagogical goals for the class.

Contracts allow for a large range of learning goals to be considered and evaluated. We feel that they expand your learning, whereas grades can often reduce your learning by focusing your attention on competition with other students, rather than your own objectives. Given the widespread use of narrative performance reviews in the workplace, you may even find that evaluations are useful preparation for the future. Unlike some other colleges and universities, grades are not reported in or with Johnston Center evaluations.


The University has five Centers of Distinction.
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