|"The will to succeed is important, but what is
more important is the will to prepare."
Coach Bobby Knight
Quoted by L.M. Boyd
Often students are not sure where they stand, or what a professor expects.
This list of assumptions is intended to help students understand what is expected
in my classes. You may find that other professors have similar expectations,
although I encourage you to discuss this with them.
If any of these assumptions does not describe you, please come by my
office EARLY in the semester to talk about it.
- All of my students have great potential.
- Students take responsibility for their own learning.
- I can expect students at Bridgewater State College to be just as
capable as the students I have taught or studied with at major universities,
because they are!
- All students are in my class because they desire to learn something.
Otherwise, they would not be paying good money to go to college.
- Students who wish to earn credits without working and learning have
switched to other courses.
- Students understand that it is possible to fail a course. Unlike high
school, the requirements for passing a college course go beyond merely showing
up or making a good effort.
- Students at Bridgewater have perhaps considered attending a technical
college, but decided that they want the breadth of a four-year, liberal arts
program. This means that they are willing to do difficult intellectual work
in fields that are not directly related to future employment, and to trust
that it will eventually all make sense. They will not waste their time and
energy wondering how each fact or skill they learn is connected to future
employment. The connections are usually neither direct nor predictable.
- Learning is more valuable than credit hours.
- General education courses - which constitute half of an undergraduate
curriculum- are as important as courses in one's major. Both faculty and students
should act accordingly.
- My class fits the personal schedule of each student in the class.
Otherwise, they would have waited until a more convenient time to take
the course. Students check the holiday and final exam schedule early, and
- Exams are important events. Students put them on their personal
calendars at the beginning of the semester, and do everything they can to
avoid missing them.
- Students spend two to three hours studying for each hour
the class is scheduled to meet.
- In courses where I provide lecture notes online, all students have
read them before class.
- Each of my courses is a semester long discussion of a set of ideas.
I provide a framework and resources for the discussion, but I do not provide
the entire discussion.
- It is rude to arrive late to, or leave early from, class.
- Any laptops present in my classroom are there for academic, not social,
purposes. They will not be used for IM, e-mail, or games.
- Any laptops present in my classroom will not distract nearby students
with offensive or provocative material.
- Sometimes genuine crises arise, for which students may need to excuse
themselves from class or arrive late. In such cases, they will sit near the
doors, and be as quiet as possible when arriving or leaving.
- I will not hear cell phones during my classes.
- Each student has - and regularly uses - a Bridgewater State
College e-mail account and Blackboard account.
- Students who send e-mail to a professor will check for an e-mail
response before asking, "Did you get my e-mail?"
- Students will use the name of the course at the beginning of the
subject line of each e-mail message (e.g., "GE196 - question about tides"
or "GE307 - missing class for medical emergency"). Otherwise, messages are
- Students read the assigned readings prior to each class.
- Each student has a dictionary, in order to look up unfamiliar words.
- In books with a glossary, students first check the glossary, as
some words are used in very specific ways in geography texts.
- Students know what plagiarism is, how to avoid it, and the consequences
- Students will not turn in somebody else's writing without proper
- Students understand the purposes of citations and how to use them
to avoid plagiarism.
- Students know that a google search is not the same thing as research.
- Students know when to ask a librarian for assistance.
- Students know that wikipedia is not a valid resource for research,
because anybody can post to it. Although wikipedia is self-correcting in theory,
in practice a mistake can remain unchallenged for months or years, and mistakes
are easier to see than corrections!
- All written work is proof-read before it is turned in.
- Just because an essay is printed on a laser printer, it is not
a final copy unless it has been proofread.
- I do not know everything, even in courses I have taught many
- College should be treated as a job, in order to practice
punctuality, neatness, reasoning skills, computer skills, communication skills,
decorum, and all of the other things that make liberal arts graduates employable.
- Even students who have outside responsibilities
will plan to spend some time on campus outside of classroom hours. Otherwise,
students will not have time to take advantage of the many learning opportunities
provided by the campus community. These include special lectures, library
facilities, computing facilities, opportunities to work on group projects,
and - perhaps most importantly - the opportunity for random interactions with
other students and faculty!
- I should be available to students through office hours, additional
appointments, telephone calls, or e-mail.
- All students know what is in the syllabus for each class they take.
- Students who do not find me by casually dropping by my office will
try one of the many other ways I make myself available, including hours posted
on the door of my office and on my web site.
- Students have access to computers, either at home or at the College,
and they have some ability to use them.
- Students who are unfamiliar with computers will avail themselves
of the free computer training available through the Information Services
- Students with computer problems will seek help from computer specialists,
friends, or me.
- Students know how to obtain information from the World Wide Web,
or are willing to learn how to do so.
- Students who are writing for my class have read my
- All of my students are worthy of respect, from me and from each
- My students do have a life outside of my classes, and I should respect
that, while striving to ensure that outside commitments do not erode the quality
of their educational experience.
- I have probably forgotten some of my assumptions.
Return to my Not-the-13th-Grade
Any questions? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
James Hayes-Bohanan, Ph.D.
Bridgewater State College