Grades are ridiculous and harmful, and they probably interfere with substantive learning. Unfortunately, they are required by this institution, no doubt a result of the "necessary cultural nightmare" described by Jules Henry in his 1963 book, Culture Against Man: "fear of failure, envy of success, and absurdity." Against our better judgment, and in a token attempt to mitigate the negative consequences of grading, the grade of each activity (exam, project, written assessments) will be based on your knowledge of the subject and your ability to appropriately convey that knowledge. With the exception of art and literature projects, all work will be blind-graded to ensure that students are treated fairly.
Because assessment of art and literature is inherently subjective, projects will be co-graded by students and instructors.
We will attempt to be friendly, enthusiastic, approachable, and accessible. In addition, we will try to make the class fun and entertaining as well as educational. Nonetheless, we will assign grades in an impersonal manner, and we will set a high academic standard. Please do not interpret our demeanor as an indication of low academic standards; otherwise, you may feel betrayed if you receive a lower-than-expected score on an assignment or exam.
|Four in-class examinations @ 60 points||240 points|
|Project @ 100 points||100 points|
|Final exam @ 60 points||60 points|
|Ten writing assignments @ 10 points||100 points|
Graduate students: additional project @ 100 points AND additional 10 points/exam
We will not "curve" grades, so that each student can earn an 'A' in the class. We genuinely hope that all students will meet our high expectations.
Finally, because we want you to learn new things about yourself and about life, we will award credit if you do something substantive you have never done before. The point of a substantive new experience is to try something you otherwise would not, hopefully thereby taking an intellectual or emotional risk. Therefore, eating a new menu item at Taco Bell does not qualify as substantive. And neither does dining at a new Taco Bell. If you have any doubt about experiences that qualify as new or substantive, please let us know. We will award up to two extra points for each new experience, and you are limited to three new experiences each week during the semester (including spring break; maximum number is 51, so the maximum number of points is 102). Each new experience must be described in a report of one paragraph. All paragraphs are due at noon on Wednesday the week after the experience (i.e., the week begins and ends Sunday, and descriptions are due three days later. These assignments will not be subjected to the same rigorous standard as other written materials with respect to quality of writing (but practice will improve your writing).
Some may wonder what this assignment has to do with vegetation management. If you are serious about creating a just, sustainable human enterprise on planet Earth, you will need the imagination that comes from many, varied experiences. To paraphrase Einstein, using the same tools and ways of thinking about problems that were used to create the problems will not go far in solving them.
The University of Arizona Code of Academic Integrity will be followed in this course.