Plan of Concentration

Credit and Residency Requirement

Definition

Field of Concentration

Preliminary Application

Final Plan Application

Work to be Evaluated & Proportional Weights

Grades, Junior Year

Grades, Senior Year

Tutorials with Non-Members of the Faculty

Oral Evaluation

Honorarium for Outside Evaluator

Duplication Costs

Written Evaluation

Senior Plan Written Assessment

Copy of the Work

Plan Grade

Satisfactory Progress

Unsatisfactory Progress

Extensions

Extension 1

Extension 2

Discontinuance

Reinstatement

Student-Taught Courses

  Credit and Residency Requirement

The Plan of Concentration consists of a minimum of 45 credits and a maximum of 60 credits. Plan credits typically will be advanced work in the student’s area(s) of study.

Normally, students are expected to be in residence during the senior year, although sponsors may occasionally recommend a non residential term. Such terms must be approved by the Dean of Faculty. Students are required to register as full-time for the final senior semester.

  Definition

The Plan of Concentration is a two-year, coherent program of study of at least 45 credits, designed by each student in consultation with his or her faculty sponsor(s). The Plan allows students to develop a breadth of knowledge, depth of analysis, sophistication of perspective, and creativity of expression within some area of focus; unlike a traditional major, the coherence of a Plan need not be determined by disciplinary boundaries.

The first year of a Plan is typically devoted to courses, tutorials and associated research that constitute a foundation for the production of the Work by the end of the second year.

The Work represents the educational objectives achieved on Plan; its elements may include a major research paper or set of research papers, a presentation in the performing or creative arts, a set of written examinations on clearly defined topics, a public lecture, or any other effort appropriate to the focus of the Plan.

The elements of the Work are defined and assigned percentage weights on the Final Plan Application. These elements may be arranged and configured in various ways, but at least one element should be assigned a percentage larger than 25% (but less that 50%, except in conditions described below.) The Independent portion of the Work allows the student to demonstrate competence in the Plan area of focus, independent of faculty feedback or guidance. The Interdependent portion of the Work provides students an opportunity to demonstrate their ability to work and communicate with others in the service of meeting shared goals.

  Field of Concentration

The Field of Concentration specifies the area or areas for the Plan of Concentration. The Field of Concentration should be broad enough to encompass most or all components of the Plan of Concentration. It does not need to encompass the scope of a traditional major, although some areas of the study will look more like traditional majors than others. Additionally, each Plan will have a set of subfields that identify the narrower topics of student specialization. In choosing and describing their field, students may use several criteria:

In discussion with their Plan Sponsor(s), students will identify and describe their preferred Field(s) of Concentration. On the Preliminary and Final Plan Applications, students will provide a justification and description of how their chosen Field of Concentration functions as a coherent area of study. This will likely involve reading about how fields and concentrations work at other colleges and universities. In choosing and describing their field, students may use several criteria: There are several criteria that students should use when choosing and describing their field:

  • How does the Field of Concentration describe the student’s expertise to people outside of Marlboro College?
  • What is the body of scholarship that provides a foundation for their academic work?
  • What are the methodological backgrounds that inform the Field of Concentration?
  • What course and tutorial work will provide the basis for the student’s research?
  • Are there programs of study at other universities that the student can point to as an example?

Plans may use recognized categories to describe the field; the faculty specialties represent a list of easily definable fields [link]. For a list of other fields the faculty currently support well, click here.

The faculty member named on the first Plan application is the Plan Sponsor of record for administrative purposes. The primary Plan Sponsor should be appropriately related to the student’s field of concentration as described above. It is appropriate to have co-sponsors if other faculty members make major contributions to the Plan. Visiting faculty and retired members of the faculty may serve as Plan Sponsors only at the discretion of the Committee on Faculty, which may consult with faculty members in related disciplines.

The first year of the Plan normally concentrates on course work in the area of the Plan, leading to a precise definition of the Work at the end of the junior year. The senior year is usually spent in tutorials and independent work necessary for the Work. All current rules for good standing, satisfactory progress and academic probation apply to Plan students.

  Degree Field (valid for students who will be a JR1 or later in fall 2019)

The Degree Field indicates the area of concentration for Plan. A Plan must demonstrate both breadth and depth in addressing a problem or set of problems, but it need not necessarily encompass the scope of a traditional major. Plans integrating two (or more) degree fields may generally be regarded as constituting a single interdisciplinary field rather than a “double major”. However, each degree field listed requires a demonstrable engagement with that field’s materials and methods. Fields must be selected from the list of degree fields (see below) adopted by the Faculty. The degree field may be followed by descriptive specializations, e.g., ART HISTORY/Renaissance Painting; BIOLOGY/Ornithology; HISTORY and LITERATURE /Shakespeare. Students proposing a degree in LIBERAL STUDIES may, with the approval of their Plan sponsor(s), specify interdisciplinary concentrations such as Medieval Studies, Visual Studies, Latin American Studies, Science and Technology Studies, Organizational Studies.(Students considering Liberal Studies please use the new Field of Concentration model above.)

American Studies

Languages

Anthropology

Liberal Studies

Art History

Literature

Asian Studies

Mathematics

Astronomy

Music

Biochemistry

Painting

Biology

Philosophy

Ceramics

Photography

Chemistry

Physics

Computer Science

Politics

Cultural History

Psychology

Dance

Religion

Economics

Sculpture

Environmental Studies

Sociology

Film/Video Studies

Theater

Gender Studies

Visual Arts

History

Writing

 

In addition, World Studies Program students may select the following field:

Development Studies

Students who meet the requirements may also undertake a Plan in Liberal Studies.

The faculty member named first on the Plan application is the Plan sponsor of record for administrative purposes. It is appropriate to have co-sponsors if other faculty members make major contributions to the Plan. Visiting faculty and retired members of the faculty may serve as Plan sponsors only at the discretion of the Committee on the Faculty, which may consult with faculty members in related disciplines.

The first year of the Plan normally concentrates on course work in the area of the Plan, leading to a precise definition of the Work at the end of the junior year. The senior year is usually spent in tutorials and independent work necessary for the Work. All current rules for good standing, satisfactory progress and academic probation apply to Plan students.

  Preliminary Application

This Application serves as the student’s formal request for permission to embark on the first year of the Plan. The first year is normally devoted to courses which lay the foundation for the Work.

The deadline for submission of the Preliminary Plan Application is before the end of the semester in which the student will have earned 55 credits or more.

Any student who does not have a Preliminary Plan Application on file by the end of the semester in which he or she has earned 55 credits must, in the next semester, submit a Preliminary Plan Application at the time of registration. The Application must be approved by the Dean of Faculty. Copies of the Preliminary Plan Application are then circulated so that faculty may register any misgivings.

  Final Plan Application

The Final Plan Application specifically defines the specifically defines the Field of Concentration, Descriptive Title, Abstract, and the various components of the Work (see Forms, Final Plan Application). It lists the courses and tutorials to be completed in the junior year and the courses and tutorials projected for the senior year. The deadline for submission and distribution of the Final Plan Application is two semesters prior to the anticipated date of completion of the Plan. Applications submitted at the end of the semester must be distributed to the faculty no later than two weeks before the final faculty meeting. Students who fail to submit Final Plan Applications on time may be required to spend an extra semester at Marlboro before they can graduate.

The Application must first be approved by the Dean of Faculty. Copies of the Final Plan Application are then circulated to all faculty for final approval.

  Work to be Evaluated & Proportional Weights

Technically, all work on Plan is subject to final evaluation. Typically, minor parts are not evaluated; they often provide essential background for the Work or papers, which are evaluated. Major elements must be evaluated: for example, if a student takes three tutorials in Irish History but writes a thesis on the Tudors, an examination or paper (listed under Other Plan Components) should be written on some aspect of Irish History.

Percentages assigned to Plan elements should be roughly consistent with the time spent on each element. Every Plan needs to meet the following (one component may fulfill more than one requirement):

  • One element should be weighted between 25% and 50%; a single element can exceed 50% (up to a maximum of 75%) only with written justification from the Primary Plan Sponsor and permission of the Dean of Faculty.
  • One element of the Work must consist of formal written prose and must comprise at least 20% of the weighting.
  • At least 10% of the material presented for evaluation must be in a form prepared by the student independently of faculty guidance, and all independent work must be available to the Outside Evaluator. Such independent work or examinations normally cover aspects of the major fields of study or areas of the Plan not addressed explicitly by other Plan elements or supporting work. Independent work must be supported by coursework or tutorials taken on Plan.
  • At least 10% of the Work must involve sustained engagement with at least one other individual or organization. This Interdependent Plan component should include: communicating with one or more other people over a sustained period of time; contributing meaningful work to a shared project; and learning about and taking into account the goals, needs, and values of the collaborators in the project. In order to facilitate assessment of the Interdependent Plan component, each student will include a reflection (in writing, podcast, video, etc.) addressing: their role in the project; the goals/needs/values of their collaborators as the student came to understand them; and the particular successes and challenges of the collaboration.

Changes to percentage weights must be made by the Friday before midterm faculty meeting of the final semester on Plan. Changes must be approved by the Dean of Faculty and Plan sponsor(s) and communicated by the student to the Registrar by this deadline. Clarifying changes in wording may be made after this deadline only as deemed appropriate by the Dean of Faculty in consultation with faculty sponsor(s). Students on extension are completing Plans already subject to final modification; no further substantive changes may be made.

  Grades, Junior Year

Standard grades (A-F) are given in courses and tutorials.

  Grades, Senior Year

Seniors may receive progress grades (S, S-, U) or letter grades for Plan courses and tutorials taken in the two semesters of their senior year.

Progress grades appear on a student’s transcript until after the oral evaluation, at which point the Registrar replaces progress grades with asterisks (*) on the transcript. The “*” leads to a statement under the Final Plan Grade: “Applies to all senior year Plan courses and tutorials.” The progress grades of seniors who do not complete their Plans remain as S, S-, or U. For the purpose of transferring Marlboro credits for courses and tutorials with progress grades, S and S- are considered equivalent to C- or better.

Standard grades remain on the transcript after the oral evaluation (i.e., they are not replaced with asterisks as with progress grades).

The student may choose between progress or letter grades at the time of registration and may change that choice no later than the deadline for dropping a course. The Plan sponsor and instructor must agree where letter grades are specified. Plan courses and tutorials that continue for more than one semester must receive the same treatment both semesters.

Seniors under the cumulative grading system who do not complete their Plan will (for transfer purposes) receive a Pass in courses they have completed at a satisfactory level.

  Tutorials with Non-Members of the Faculty

Students on Plan and their sponsor(s) may arrange for Plan-related tutorials with non-members of the faculty. The Plan sponsor is responsible for notifying the Registrar of such an arrangement at the start of each term, for the evaluation of the work, and for submitting grades. The student is responsible for any additional expenses incurred as a result of such work unless other arrangements are made in advance with the Dean of the Faculty in extraordinary cases.

  Oral Evaluation

The Board of Evaluators consists of the Plan sponsor and co-sponsors, a second faculty member if there are no co-sponsors, and an outside evaluator. Marlboro faculty who participate in major portions of a Plan should be on the committee. The Dean of Faculty appoints an outside evaluator upon recommendation of the Plan sponsor; students are encouraged to suggest names of possible outside evaluators.

At least one week before the oral evaluation, the outside evaluator must have copies of all exams, papers, journals, and other material which constitute the Work with the understanding that the evaluator will typically witness all exhibitions and performances. The outside evaluator should have the opportunity to evaluate all elements of the Plan and must have the opportunity to evaluate at least 90% of Plan work, including all work prepared independently of faculty guidance. However, when a student teaches, performs, or gives a public lecture, the outside evaluator may not be available. Therefore, all independent work, and elements with weightings of more than 10% must be documented for the outside evaluator. Weightings for a public lecture or class teaching must be kept to 10% or less. Exceptions to this rule may be granted by the Dean of Faculty, upon advice from the Curriculum Committee.

  Honorarium for Outside Evaluator

The College pays a $500 honorarium to the outside evaluator upon receipt of an evaluation of the Plan and oral evaluation. This covers travel expenses. However, for outside examiners who must travel long distances or who must make a second trip to the College to view a performance or exhibit, there may be travel funds available. If the outside evaluator must stay overnight, such arrangements and their cost are the student’s responsibility.

  Duplication Costs

The College pays the cost of photocopies of the Plan paper for the library and outside evaluator. If copying is done off campus, the College will reimburse the student for these “free” copies to a maximum of 10 cents/page. Receipts showing number of pages copied, number of copies made of each page and cost must be presented to the Plant and Operations Office prior to reimbursement.

  Written Evaluation

Plan sponsors and the outside evaluator must submit a written evaluation of the student’s work to the Registrar as soon as possible after the oral exam. All written evaluations will be made available to the student and retained in his or her permanent file for future reference.

  Senior Plan Written Assessment

Faculty members who have taught courses in the student’s senior year but who do not sit on the Board of Examiners will submit a written assessment of the student’s work to the Board of Examiners.

  Copy of the Work

All graduating students must submit both a final printed copy and a digital copy of the Work to the Registrar, including appropriate documentation of non-written work. Students are not required to submit undocumented components comprising less than 10% of the Work.

  Plan Grade

Upon the Plan’s completion, the evaluating board assigns a grade which covers the entire Plan.

  Satisfactory Progress

It is assumed that the student will make satisfactory progress on Plan. However, the faculty reserves the right to take action up to and including dismissal for academic failure, upon recommendation of the student’s Plan sponsor and the Dean of Faculty.

  Unsatisfactory Progress

When a student on Plan receives a report of unsatisfactory (U) from his or her Plan sponsor at the end of a semester, he or she will be placed on probation. If, at the end of the following semester, he or she is still doing unsatisfactory work, he or she may be dismissed from the College for academic failure.

When a student on Plan is, in the faculty’s opinion, making no significant effort to meet his or her academic responsibilities, he or she may be dismissed for academic failure. The student may instead be asked to do an extra semester’s work upon notice from the Dean of Faculty.

  Extensions

 There are two kinds of extensions for Plan work that are outlined below. Extensions for Plan work may be granted by the Dean of Faculty. The Plan sponsor must concur. The Director of Academic Advising may be contacted for help working out individual situations.

  Extension 1

For Scheduling Final Plan Evaluation:

If Plan work is complete, an extension of up to three months beyond the scheduled completion date may be granted for scheduling and taking written and oral examinations. There is no fee for this extension.

A student may not choose this category if,

  1. at the end of this semester, he or she has received unsatisfactory grades which would drop earned credits below the minimum of 45 credits required on Plan or 120 credits required for graduation;
    OR
  2. he or she needs further faculty assistance, including reading and commenting on drafts of the Work, regardless of credits earned.

  Extension 2

For Completing Plan Work:

If the student does not complete Plan work on time, and further faculty assistance is needed, he or she must register for further instruction or be discontinued.

(This is valid for the next spring semester for students scheduled to finish in December and for the next fall semester or the intervening summer for students scheduled to finish in May.)

The number of credits may range from 1-18, depending on the proportion of work needed to complete the Plan, and will be set by the Dean of Faculty after consultation with the student and the Plan sponsor. Students are charged on a per-credit basis for any remaining work.

If the work is not completed on time under Extension 2, further extension under Extension 1 is possible. A further extension under Extension 2 is possible, but only if the student submits a new Final Plan Application which the faculty must approve.

  Discontinuance

Marlboro’s curriculum depends on each student forming an individualized plan of study with his or her designated faculty sponsor for the junior year. These plans are expressed first in the Preliminary Plan Application and without it a student cannot successfully progress. Therefore it is part of the definition of good academic standing at Marlboro for students in their junior year to have completed the Preliminary Plan Application in a timely way. Failure to do so may result in the student being discontinued.

If the student fails to complete Plan work on time, he or she may elect to be discontinued by faculty vote. The student may complete (and is encouraged to complete) Plan work while discontinued, as long as the work does not require faculty assistance.

  Reinstatement

If a student has been discontinued in the junior year, the student may be reinstated by vote of the faculty once the student has secured a Plan sponsor and completed a Preliminary Plan Application. Reinstatement may only take place prior to the beginning of the semester in which the student plans to return to Marlboro.

If the student finishes work independently (while discontinued), he or she must be reinstated by faculty vote for the purpose of final evaluation. The student has two years to show satisfactory progress on Plan and be reinstated by vote of the faculty. The student must pay a reinstatement fee in accordance with the current Marlboro College tuition and fee schedule. A student must be reinstated on Plan no later than three weeks prior to the date of Commencement.

If two years have passed, the student must petition the faculty for reinstatement. In this case, new requirements may be imposed.

  Student-Taught Courses

In exceptional cases, where the student has demonstrated mastery of the material, a student on Plan may teach a course for credit at the College under the supervision of the Plan sponsor. Typically, such courses will not exceed two credits. The student teacher must present a completed application including a course description and syllabus in advance of the deadline to the sponsor, then to the Curriculum Committee for review and approval. The sponsor is responsible for evaluating the work of students and for granting credit. The sponsor is expected to monitor the course by meeting regularly with the student teacher and by attending the course at least occasionally.

Students who are not on Plan may participate only in cooperative team-teaching with faculty members. The Curriculum Committee defines “team-teaching” as direct and continuous participation in the course by the faculty member.

The Dean of Faculty and the Registrar must be notified by the supervising faculty member about any course taught by a student.

Detours

(a mostly random selection of Marlboro microdestinations)