The New College Academic Contract
An academic contract, which corresponds to one full-time semester of enrollment at New College, contains four sections: 1) educational activities, 2) short- and long-term goals, 3) descriptions of academic activities and activities outside of the academic contract, and 4) certification criteria. Goals may of course change over time. Rather than committing to activities or outcomes, contemplation of goals provides an opportunity to imagine the future, and to reflect on how educational choices lead to academic achievements. Over time, successive contracts record new directions in thoughts and aspirations, and document the changes in a student’s intellectual and social development.
Only activities listed under educational activities, when completed and evaluated as satisfactory by the appropriate New College professors, appear on the official transcript. Educational activities may be courses, seminars, tutorials, labs, fieldwork, internships, special projects, and the like. For each activity for academic credit, a New College faculty member is listed and is responsible for submitting an evaluation of student work. All activities undertaken as tutorials require the instructor's initials on the contract.
Semester EvaluationsAt the end of each semester, the instructor for each of the contract's educational activities (listed for potential transcript entry) submits a narrative evaluation of each student’s performance to the Student Evaluation System (SES). In addition to providing details related to the student’s performance, this evaluation specifies whether or not that work is "Satisfactory," "Incomplete," or "Unsatisfactory."
Incompletes and the One-Year Rule
For work designated as “Incomplete,” a faculty member may specify a deadline for completion in the Student Evaluation System; the deadline must be on or before one year from the first day of the semester for which the contract was written. If the faculty member makes no designation, educational activities that are “Incomplete” after one year from the first day of the semester for which the contract was written automatically become “Unsatisfactory.” For example, a course taken during fall 2011 and not completed becomes “Unsatisfactory” on the first day of classes of fall semester 2012. This practice applies to modular and full-term courses.
The deadline for the submission of semester evaluations by the faculty is Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. during the eighteenth week after the beginning of the semester.
Evaluations are internal communications between professors, students, and contract sponsors. They are not part of the official transcript, are not included with transcripts, and are never translated by the Registrar into grades. A student can download his or her evaluations and copy them as part of graduate and professional school applications, but the narrative evaluations do not have status as official transcripts, and cannot be given this status by the Office of the Registrar.
The contract sponsor certifies the academic contract after evaluations have been submitted to the online Student Evaluation System. This is based on the certification criteria articulated in the contract. The deadline for contract certification is ten days after the beginning of the following semester. Like individual courses, contracts are certified as Satisfactory, Incomplete, or Unsatisfactory.