Self evaluation is an essential part of Johnston contracting for two reasons:

  1. It allows you to make your own assessment about the work you have done, thus giving you a real sense of ownership of your studies, and

  2. It provides the faculty with crucial feedback for evaluating you, as well as for improving their effectiveness as facilitators/instructors. Self-evaluation institutionalizes the balanced relationship between the students and the faculty, which is central to Johnston education.

The evaluation form has two sections. In the first, you reflect on your own learning. In the second, you comment on the effectiveness of the faculty member. In both sections, you are encouraged to talk about group processes as they relate to individual learning. Make specific reference to the course contract and how it "vas fulfilled. Following are some questions to help you frame a self evaluation; feel free to answer others that are more specific to each particular course contract.

The following examples provide some ideas about what a self evaluation, faculty evaluation, and course evaluation look like. The Director has many more examples that you can consult.

Part 1: Student Self Evaluation

  • What objectives did you set for yourself and the group? How successfully did you accomplish those goals?

  • List what you did in the course.

  • What learning devices have worked best for you?

  • Did you participate in the formation of the group process and the course design? How would you assess your participation in class discussions?

  • What books, people, or other learning devices were especially valuable? What was your most/least successful or meaningful project and why?


Student: _______________

Faculty: Dr. Bill McDonald

Course: History and Theory of the Novel

In this section reflect on your learning process in relation to the course contract. Consult the attached guide for assistance. (attach additional sheets if you need more space.)

This class was, without a doubt, my most rewarding of the semester; I felt consistently pushed and challenged, not merely by Bill, but also by my fellow colleagues in the class. The sense of comradely (mixed with a healthy dose of academic) competition made for an environment that was, for the most part, stimulating and supportive. The group effort in preparation for the final, for instance, was staggering to witness and participate in, and in many ways was our real "final exam" - much more exhausting (and exhaustive) than the actual test. I have never worked with a better bunch of people.

As far as my own work in the class, I am relatively happy with what I've done, (relative, I suppose, to my other classes this semester, for which I expended nowhere near as much effort, and reaped nowhere near as much benefit). Were I to take the class again, I would be more careful not to underestimate the time necessary - the reading assignments, altl10ugh almost always completed on time, were more often than not last minute, "once-through" reads. For books such as those we read, a reading of that sort is insufficient. Despite the extensive work the class did this semester, I will need to pay much more respect to the texts before feeling I have a strong grasp of the works. My two papers were both strong efforts, I think - the first, shorter paper on Gogol was the "safer" one; a close-reading of one chapter. It was certainly the more concise of the two, if not the more rewarding. The second, larger paper on Tristram Shandy led me onto shaky ground of a more abstract, theoretical nature - my first real effort in attempting to contribute something to literary theory - a nervy goal, I admit, but although the paper might have failed, I am glad I took the chance and went out on the limb, rather than hugging the "trunk" of the text.

The papers themselves were both turned in rather later than their originally scheduled deadlines. If I have any great regret in this class, it is this inability to get things done when promised, and it is not a problem I can honestly attribute to anything but procrastination and poor management of time. It is a tendency I continue to battle with throughout my education.

In my contract, I stated that I hoped my class participation would be a happy medium - I have a habit of either talking far too much in class, or shutting up altogether and withdrawing. I feel I have achieved the middle-ground in this class, if for no other reason than students in this class didn't necessitate (or, in some cases, allow) anyone person to ramble on too long.

On the whole, I am proud of my work in this class - the atmosphere made me feel as though there was always room for improvement and further development, and I attempted to meet that challenge. I tried hard not to ever "find a resting point" as a reader, writer, or student.

Part 2-Faculty Evaluation

  • Did the faculty provide sufficient breadth and depth to insure quality of learning? Did the faculty have an appropriate grasp of the subject?

  • How sensitive was the faculty to individual and class needs?

  • How was the faculty responsive to criticism?

  • How do you assess the faculty's ability to organize and facilitate the course? Was the faculty open to contract negotiation

A self evaluation is required in order to receive an evaluation for a course. Turn in the completed self evaluation (both parts) to the instructor. You may turn in Part 2 to the Johnston secretary. For a departmental course, you may turn in Part 2 to the department secretary.



Faculty: Dr. Patricia O'Connell

Course: Central America

In this section reflect on your learning process in relation to the course contract. Consult the attached guide for assistance. (attach additional sheets if you need more space.) This was the first full Johnston course that Pat has ever taught and I think overall she did a fine job.

Some parts of the course were far beyond my expectations and were incredibly valuable. First, I felt that all of the field trips were very, very good. Her suggestions as to good places, her use of connections and her willingness to spend a lot of time planning and participating was both very generous and impressive. Pat was also very good with the teach-in. She allowed us full control of organizing the event, even to the point of allowing us to make mistakes with it. I would imagine this to be a very difficult sort of project for a new professor at Johnston-to let the control go-and she did a wonderful job. Pat was also one of the most flexible professors I have ever had. She was willing from the beginning to meet at strange hours and sometimes on the weekends. Despite personal time commitments to her family, Pat was always very willing to offer us her help (even when we didn't want it), her resources, her knowledge, and her time.

This was a difficult course to teach, especially as a first Johnston Seminar. The group was not entirely cohesive and discussions tended to be disjointed and frustrating. There were few leaders. I had difficulty with Pat's style of directing the discussion; she seemed to begin the discussion with an idea of where the conversation should go. She had the answers ready and would try to push the class in that direction. I think that she felt resistance to this leadership and in my own case it was not from not wanting her leadership but wanting also to explore my own directions. It seemed that she came to class with answers that she had already discovered about the readings, and she wanted to lead us to them. What I wanted was for her to share those discoveries with us and to take the discussion beyond that into where those discoveries came from and what lay behind them.

Pat said in the last class that she had been frustrated with feeling like she had a lot of background information but she didn't give it to the class because she felt that we didn't want it. I think that this was a misinterpretation on her part and a miscommunication on the part of the class. There is a trick in Johnston seminars where the professor must slip information to the class without having it appear as a lecture. The difference to me is the regular professor who stands in front of the class and says "This is what there is that you should know about Central America", and the Johnston professor who sits in the circle and says "This is something I know about Central America." The attitude that the difference brings is important.

I often felt Pat had underlying frustrations with the class (such as lack of attendance, lack of energy, etc.). Those things were very rarely brought up directly in class (until the last class, where we had the first really successful discussion), but came out indirectly in her rather arbitrary curt or irritated attitude toward the class. This was a very difficult position for me because I often felt the same frustration and I feel that I, too, should have brought it up. I'm sorry now that I didn't. I am very glad to have been in this class and I am also very glad Pat taught it. I hope that the above frustrations do not drive her away from teaching other Johnston seminars because she is someone who has the ability to open people's eyes and show them new ways of looking at the world. This was not an easy class to teach or an easy group of people to work with and, considering these factors, I think Pat met and exceeded many of my expectations.


University of Redlands-Redlands, California

Permanent Record - Student Evaluation

Student: Robert DeNiro

Instructor: Cheryl A. Rickabaugh

Course Title: Personality Theories

Course Description:


This course is an introduction to psychological theories of personality and relevant research. The major paradigms of personality (i.e., psychoanalytic and Neo-Freudian, cognitive theories, behaviorism, etc.) are discussed as well as their application to the understanding of human nature and experience. The texts for this course usually include the following: Burger, J.M. (1986). Personality: Theory and Research. Belmont: I Wadsworth. Allport, G.W. (1965). Letters from Jenny. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich. Hall, C.S. (1954). A Primer of Freudian Psychology. New York: New American Library. In Bob's case, a reading list was negotiated which included primary sources representative of the topics discussed in the text. Bob still was, however, required to read Letters from Jenny.

Final evaluation criteria included satisfactory completion of (a) two papers on a selected topic, (b) one examination which material covered during the last third of the course and (c) a paper portfolio. In addition, class participation was also considered in this evaluation. Portfolios consisted of 12 two-to three-page essays on topic questions or. outside projects which functioned much as a workbook.


Bob set very high goals for himself in this class and, with some modification, consistently met these goals. It should be noted that the amount of work that Bob completed during this semester earned an additional unit of academic credit (four units credit in a three unit course). The negotiated reading list was a very demanding one, and after receiving Bob's second paper we both agreed that it would be best if he simply finished reading the text and took the final midterm examination to reduce his workload. This is not to say that Bob failed in any respect; his work was consistently among the very best in the class. The reading list was simply too extensive, a fact that he failed to appreciate at the beginning of the course. I would, however, prefer to see a student overextend himself or herself and renegotiate goals later in the course rather than set easily attainable goals which do not test his or her abilities. Thus, I do not feel that the renegotiation in which Bob and I were engaged late in the course reflects poor performance in any respect.

Bob's first paper was a good summary of traditional psychoanalytic and neo-psychoanalytic paradigms of personality psychology. I felt, however, that it lacked a critical appraisal of this approach to personality, and encouraged Bob to incorporate more of his evaluation and critical opinions in later papers. The paper clearly demonstrated that Bob knew the material; I also wanted to know what he thought about it. His next paper was quite innovative (and also much better). For this paper, he designed and conducted an experiment testing the relationship between two variables of interest in humanistic psychology. We worked fairly closely on this paper, and I felt the paper was quite a good one. My primary criticism of this paper included my belief that Bob should have described the theoretical rationale for the study somewhat more in depth. I also felt that his findings should have been discussed somewhat more completely within a theoretical context. All in all, however, it was a mighty undertaking and an enjoyable paper to read. By this point in the course (with approximately four weeks remaining), we agreed that Bob would slow down to the level of the class, simply read the text and take a final midterm. His score on this exam was close to perfect.

Bob's portfolios were very well written. His first group (one-tl1ird of the total assigned for the course) were somewhat like his first paper in that I felt he provided little criticism or evaluation of the phenomena discussed. After receiving this feedback, however, his portfolio assignments were consistently excellent. This type of assignment is one which taps some of his best abilities.

Finally, Bob consistently attended class meetings and had something to say almost every day. Due to the early hour (8:30 a.m.), it was somewhat difficult to become involved in discussion. Bob questioned, made comments, and helped the class become involved. It is clear that he is very interested in the field of psychology, as he often introduced material learned in other classes (and often other disciplines). I hope that I encouraged Bob to continue to do so, for I valued his participation in class.

Good job, Bob.

Instructor Signature: _

Date: _