TO: Students wanting to do independent
study with me
FROM: Stephen Chilton
SUBJECT: What I look for and expect
- Here is the Political Science
Department's policy statement about independent study, along with guidelines
for the student.
- [To paraphrase certain important parts of this policy:] Note particularly
that independent study is not provided:
- to solve scheduling problems or conflicts resulting from poor
- to circumvent the core offerings of the Department or avoid
taking a regularly scheduled offering which is appropriate
to the student's program;
- to solve scheduling problems or conflicts resulting from changes
in majors, minors, or programs offered in other units of the
CRITERIA FOR MY PARTICIPATING
- Let me say right off that I am extremely reluctant to do independent
study courses. In my experience, independent study courses don't
turn out well for the student. Unless you are both interested
in your work and disciplined about it, you will wind up disappointed.
And since your success is an important reason for me to participate
with you, I lose too.
- Independent study courses take time for me as well as you. Not
only do I need to take the time for the meetings themselves; I
also need to take time to think and read enough about the subject
to be helpful to you. I therefore need to be interested in
the topic you propose, and I must believe that I'll learn something
important to me from it..
- We must be able to agree on a regular schedule to meet. This will
usually be an hour a week. We must also be able to agree on
the expectations I have of you and you have of me. We will
need to put these down in writing on a
form the department provides for this.
MY EXPECTATIONS OF MYSELF
- I will be available to you at the time we agreed on. If I am unable
to meet at the agreed-upon time, I will contact you (insofar as I am
able) by phone, email, or — worst — by a message
left on my door.
- I will answer your questions (doing extra preparation if necessary) and
guide your study as you need it. This guidance will be in the form of
suggestions, not orders. Even though I do ultimately have to grade what
you produce, this is still your project.
- I will grade you not on whether you agree with me but whether you have
done careful research and backed up your conclusions well. Of
necessity, this will be according to my own judgment.
MY EXPECTATIONS OF YOU
- You will come to our meetings prepared:
- having done the indicated reading/research;
- prepared to give me an overview of what you've done;
- prepared to ask me questions or at least tell me where you're
running into difficulties.
- You will show up for our meetings at the time scheduled. If you are unable
to meet, you will contact me as soon as you know by phone (both my home
and office phones have voice mail), email, or a message left on my door.
- You will finish in the time allotted.
- You will read this
departmental description of independent study requirements and
print out and complete
this form representing our agreement.
- The University, campus, college, and department may all have additional
requirements for independent study students/courses. One of these requirements
is that you formally register for the course.
Page URL: http://www.d.umn.edu/~schilton/Advisement/IndependentStudy.html
Chilton [email] | Last
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