Paradigm for Plan Proposal Meetings

Allow the student to present the Plan proposal, then ask these questions:

  • How have you done in classes?

  • How have you progressed in your studies?

    • How have you been learning how to ask questions in your field of interest and set up a line of inquiry?

    • How have you conducted research in any of your courses? Have you done research during FWT, or within co-curricular activities?

    • How have you created and revised work, and for which courses? How have you created and/or revised work during FWT, or within co-curricular activities?

    • How have you engaged in collaborative work, in or outside of class?

    • How have you shared your ideas: in class presentations, through specific out-of-class projects and writing assignments, or in other ways? 

  • Are you studying broadly? If not, how will you remedy that in the coming terms?

  • How will you use resources (coursework, FWT, study abroad) to realize your Plan?

The committee’s review of the Plan essay, the student’s narrative evaluations, and conversation with the student should elicit information that allows it to confirm the primary areas of study the student has chosen.

  • These should be the educational pursuits that will support the student's primary inquiry or advanced work.

  • These could be more narrowly focused than discipline groups, i.e., "painting," or even "portrait painting," rather than "visual arts."

  • The student will have proposed a list on their cover sheet, but these may evolve during the meeting discussion.

  • Note rationale for any changes from the student’s list on the cover sheet.

Confirm the supporting areas of study.

  • These topics need not be directly related to student’s advanced work or specifically interrelated with primary areas of study, but a case should be made for "supporting."

  • Note rationale for any changes from the student’s list on the cover sheet.

Confirm discipline group(s) responsible for assessing progress in the student’s work.

  • This will likely be one or more discipline groups that support the student’s areas of study.

Who specifically will be responsible?

  • Many plans will require specific faculty members from multiple disciplines to monitor the student’s progress.

Assess the Plan essay.

  • Are the ideas clear? Is the prose competent? If not, what action, if any, is recommended?

Is the Plan feasible at Bennington?

  • Has the student demonstrated potential to complete the work as described?

  • Does the plan make sense given the resources available to Bennington students (including but not limited to resources available in classes)?

  • Include specific committee recommendations.

Ask the student to identify at least one academic objective that they will attempt next term in order to advance their Plan. 

Based on the student’s response, evaluate which of the Capacities, if any, the objective will help them develop: Inquire, research, create, engage, communicate (more than one may apply).

In light of the discussion, is the working title or question appropriate to this Plan? If not, what action, if any, is recommended?

  • The title should summarize the central thrust of the student’s inquiry.

  • Naming the Plan is intended to provide a way for students to take "ownership" of their inquiry.

  • The title will not be finalized until the 6th term Plan progress meeting.

  • By current policy, the title will not appear on the student’s transcript.