Assumptions Page
What I Assume and Expect
James Hayes-Bohanan, Ph.D.
Professor of Geography
Revised: November 19, 2015

"The will to succeed is important, but what is more important is the will to prepare."
Basketball 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.

  1. All of my students have great potential.
  2. Students take responsibility for their own learning.
  3. All students are in my class because they desire to learn something. Otherwise, they would not be paying good money to go to college.
  4. Students who wish to earn credits without working and learning have switched to other courses.
  5. 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.
  6. Learning is more valuable than credit hours.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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 plan accordingly.
  10. If a student needs to miss a class for any reason, the student will find out what was missed from a student who was present.
  11. Students will take notes in class.
  12. The class is a class, not a bus station. This means that everyone's attention is primarily IN the room, not elsewhere.
  13. Students spend two to three hours reading, writing, and studying for each hour the class is scheduled to meet.
  14. In courses where I provide lecture notes online, all students have read them before class.
  15. Students will read assigned articles or chapters before class, and will write their own notes about the reading. The 10 minutes prior to class do not count.
  16. 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.
  17. It is rude to arrive late to, or leave early from, class.
  18. Any laptops present in my classroom are there for academic, not social, purposes. They will not be used for IM, e-mail, or games.
  19. Any laptops present in my classroom will not distract nearby students with offensive or provocative material.
  20. Any laptops present in my classroom will not distract nearby students with constant, irrelevant use.
  21. 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. If a classroom has two doors, late and early departure will be through the far door.
  22. I will not hear cell phones during my classes.
  23. Each student has - and regularly uses - a Bridgewater State University e-mail account and Blackboard account.
  24. Students who send e-mail to a professor will check for an e-mail response before asking, "Did you get my e-mail?"
  25. Students will use the name of the course at the beginning of the subject line of each e-mail message (e.g., "GE130 - question about tides" or "GE332 - missing class for medical emergency"). Otherwise, messages are easily lost.
  26. Each student has a dictionary, in order to look up unfamiliar words, or uses an online dictionary. If the proper meaning of a word contained in assigned readings cannot be discerned before class, students will ask about the word either by email prior to class or at the beginning of class discussion.
  27. In books with a glossary, students first check the glossary, as some words are used in very specific ways in geography texts.
  28. Students know what plagiarism is, how to avoid it, and the consequences for violations.
  29. Students will not turn in somebody else's writing without proper attribution.
  30. Students understand the purposes of citations and how to use them.
  31. Students know that a google search is not the same thing as research.
  32. Students know when to ask a librarian for assistance.
  33. All written work is proof-read before it is turned in.
  34. Just because an essay is printed on a laser printer, it is not a final copy unless it has been proofread.
  35. I do not know everything, even in courses I have taught many times.
  36. 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.
  37. 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!
  38. I should be available to students through office hours, appointments, telephone calls, and/or e-mail.
  39. All students know what is in the syllabus for each class they take.
  40. Students who do not find me by casually dropping by my office will try one of the many other ways I make myself available
  41. Students have access to computers, either at home or at the university, and they have some ability to use them.
  42. Students who are unfamiliar with computers will avail themselves of the free computer training available through the Information Services Department.
  43. Students with computer problems will seek help from computer specialists, friends, or me.
  44. Students know how to obtain information from the World Wide Web, or are willing to learn how to do so.
  45. Students who are writing for my class have read my writing page .
  46. All of my students are worthy of respect, from me and from each other.
  47. 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.
  48. I can expect students at Bridgewater State University to be just as capable as the students I have taught or studied with at major universities, because they are!
  49. I have probably forgotten some of my assumptions.
If any of these assumptions does not describe you, please come by my office EARLY in the semester to talk about it.

Return to my Not-the-13th-Grade page.
Any questions? Contact me at .
James Hayes-Bohanan, Ph.D.
Bridgewater State University