Every program at Evergreen has a covenant. Ours is doubly important because we will be traveling abroad in spring quarter; however, this covenant applies specifically to fall and winter.

“You have two ears and one mouth. Listen to others twice as much as you speak.” (Joe Heaney, sean-nós singer from Connemara)

Introduction: This program involves upper division work in the study of Irish culture. You, the students, are responsible for your learning as well as that of your peers. Covenant agreements represent the minimum effort required for credit and it is expected that the large majority of students will surpass these minimums. I expect you to be willing to do your best and to seriously involve yourself with these new ideas. It is preferable that you risk overextending yourself rather than “play it safe” and gain less of what the program has to offer. The objective of the program is that you become self-directed in your work and a fully functioning member of the Learning Community.

All members of the community, students and faculty, are expected to commit themselves to “conversations of respect” with persons different from themselves, to learn from these conversations, and to be as open to change of opinion as is humanly possible. It will not be acceptable to refuse to listen or to enter into conversations with particular persons because of differences of opinion, no matter how strongly held. It will also not be acceptable to exploit the respectful atmosphere of the class to dominate or browbeat others. I expect you to work in cooperation with each other, to share information, and to broaden your knowledge of Irish culture beyond the parameters of your current understanding. You are expected to check your e-mail daily, and to frequently keep an eye on the Ireland program website for announcements and handouts. I will not be carrying around extra copies of the syllabus.

Writing: You are expected to come into the seminar with your book or other work in hand. If you have been asked to create a response paper, your writing will then be used as a springboard for seminar discussions; it should be kept in your program notebook for perusal during occasional meetings. Other assignments are noted in the syllabus and on the program webpage. No late papers will be accepted.

Language: Knowledge of the Irish language is essential to understanding its importance in Irish culture. You will receive regular instruction in various aspects of the Irish language. Each student must be able to recite a short poem in Irish by heart, with correct pronunciation, toward the end of each quarter. No prior knowledge of Irish is assumed, so those who are already familiar with the language will be expected to help others.

Collaborative Presentations: The tenth week of fall and winter quarters has been set aside for collaborative student presentations. You are expected to work cooperatively in small groups throughout the quarter, relying on your strengths but also working on your weaknesses. This presentation will be one of your major assignments for the quarter; even if you have never performed before, you should be able to find ways to contribute to a successful presentation. Groups will be formed after the midpoint of the quarter, and no one will be left without a group. Independent presentations are not acceptable. It is essential that you learn to work within the context of a group, with all of its potential successes and failures, just as people inside and outside of academia have to cooperate and collaborate with a variety of personality types.

The following points of agreement exist between the students and faculty of this program to ensure that there is a clear understanding of mutual expectations. Failure to meet these understandings and obligations will result in loss of credit and potentially being forbidden to attend the study abroad portion of the program.

  1. Students shall complete all assignments and hand them in or perform them at the assigned time. Students will come to seminar prepared. The success of the small groups and the seminar depends upon your timely completion of work. Any work that you hand in is expected to be your best effort.
  2. Attendance at all program activities is mandatory.
  3. Tardiness is not acceptable. You are expected to be on time and prepared.
  4. In cases where illness or an emergency precludes a student from attending a program activity, the student will notify the faculty in writing, by phone, or verbally prior to the beginning of that activity.
  5. E-mail and the internet are important aspects of daily life and should be attended to as part of program work. E-mail should be checked frequently. The program website is an important repository for program documents and clarification of assignments and should also be consulted frequently.
  6. Incompletes shall be granted only in documented emergency situations.
  7. Be sensitive to and cooperative with the needs of people with schedules and responsibilities different from one’s own. For example, members of the program may have outside work, childcare issues, and other commitments.
  8. Faculty shall notify in writing anyone who is in danger of losing credit. This shall be done as soon as the loss of credit becomes imminent.
  9. Students agree to approach their work with dedication and invest the necessary time and energy to produce significant results.
  10. Laptops and cellphones are an unacceptable intrusion into the life of our time together; Facebook will still be there for you when class is over. Keep these electronic items off and put away. The one exception is that you may (and are welcome to) use a recording device during the language and music portions of the class. Any person whose cellphone goes off in class must stand at the front of the group and sing “Danny Boy” at the faculty’s earliest convenience.