The Role of the Course Contract

For all courses you take for evaluation, whether Johnston Center courses, independent studies, internships, or departmental courses, you must write course contracts. A course contract is a negotiated statement of commitment between you and your professor at the beginning of the semester. It outlines your objectives for the class and what you will do to meet these objectives. It is a work plan for a particular subject or study topic that defines the expected quality and quantity (unit value) of your performance.

A contract has two parts: the course description and the actual contract. Unless the course is an independent study, the description will always have a topic of study and much of its syllabus in common with the description other class members write. However, you can contract for more or less coursework (and therefore more or fewer units of credit), and you can negotiate changes in the syllabus as well: e.g., the kind and quantity of papers and presentations that you will complete. In the second part of the contract, you set out how (and why) you have modified the syllabus, how many papers and presentations you will do, and your overall goals for the course. Specific points to be addressed, including your expectations of the professor, are recorded in this second part.

Check with the Johnston Registrar, the Schedule of Classes, and look for notices posted in Bekins and Holt to find out when contracts are due. Your contract can be modified through negotiation with your professor at any time during the year after the initial on time submission. Renegotiations take place between you and the professor, which may entail your attaining more units of credit if you choose to increase the work plan, (the converse is true too, of course). You should submit the revised contract to Teresa Area during the semester, although faculty members sometimes reflect re-negotiated contracts in their evaluations. Check with your professors to see what will work best in your situation. Ultimately, your re-negotiated contract and/or the faculty's final evaluation must be filed with the Registrar for changes to be "official."

Johnston Center Course Contract

University of Redlands Student:


Course: Individualism, 4 units

Advisor: Rafat Fazeli

Day and Time: Mon., Wed., Fri. 10-11:30

Room: Bekins 2

Course Description:

(Consider Resources on which to call; reading list, faculty, etc.; Upper Division, Lower Division, Pre-requisites.)

This is an attempt to examine critically the role and meaning of individualism in our life. We will explore its development in the societal as well as personal context. Included in our examination will be: (1) the relationship of individualism to other societal or personal values, beliefs and practices; and (2) the nature of socialization as individuals acquire and develop their values through association with others. Common reading:

Habits of the Heart (Bellah, et al); Less Than Zero (Ellis); Play It As It Lays (Didion); Fountainhead (Rand); The Book of Laughter and Forgetting (Kundera); Individualism (Lukes).

Class Contract:

(Consider: Proportion of time allotted to seminar or tutorial. Background of interest and commitment to the subject. Objectives and procedures to meet objectives (project, journal, paper, etc.). Methods proposed for evaluation. Relation of this course to graduation contract. Responsibility to other members of the seminar or tutorial. Nature of faculty involvement.)

As a means of "getting the most" out of this class, I would like to express what I have learned from the discussions, novels and text using different media. A short paper will be written using Less Than Zero and Play It As It Lays together in their representation of contemporary examples of Individualism. Since I have already read The Fountainhead I would like to examine Ayn Rand as an individual herself, how her philosophy expresses this identity and possibly its impact on society. The Book of Laughter and Forgetting: I would like to approach either analyzing the book on its own, or focusing on the writer, Milan Kundera. I am very interested in "The Why" behind Individualism: What are the psychological reasons for the need to be an Individual? What are the pressures from society to assert one's individuality - or is this assertion in response to the pressure to conform? These are the questions I would like to deal with throughout the course and finally in an overview, using knowledge from Habits of the Heart and Individualism to technically apply theories to all books read and subjects brought up in discussion. Included, I would like to address Individualism on a personal level by keeping a joumal of reactions while reading, personal insights and other ideas spurred by the class.


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