BUS 480
Spring 2002
Teaching Philosophy and Policies
Kevin Laverty 3/31/02

Teaching Philosophy

I have an underlying belief that education is a foundation element for a good life. Through education, individuals learn about the world (of nature, human beings and human creations, and ideas) and develop skills in thinking critically and in expressing their thoughts.

I believe that instructors, like students, are learners. For example, in this course, all of us will work to understand the assigned readings. These are not simple materials, and I learn new things every time I re-read these. In addition, as an instructor I see myself learning, over time, how to deliver the best possible course. To do so, I vary methods and material from quarter to quarter. I welcome feedback from students as to the effectiveness of these.

My experience is that people who are successful in organizations are effective at problem solving, communication, and working with others. I try to structure my classes so that the subject material (readings, cases, etc.) helps students develop and refine these skills. My classes are designed to encourage everyone's engagement, participation, and contribution. This stands in contrast to "one-way" delivery of information inherent in teaching methods such as lectures. Note that the first line of our university's mission statement is "UWB holds the student-faculty relationship to be paramount."

I recognize the importance that most students place on grades. I take grading very seriously and consider it to be one of the most difficult aspects of being an instructor. Essentially, a student's grade should be a reflection of her/his achievement (learning) as indicated by written and verbal expression. Nevertheless, I see my responsibility as being your guide with regard to learning and development of learning skills, rather than helping you get a good grade. I do not "teach to the test." (I will discuss this in class.)

The University of Washington, Bothell, is an exciting place to be, and it is in all of our best interests for it to be the best possible place to be from. To achieve this, we have to expect a lot of each other, including that our work is not easy. I sincerely hope that we will be able to look back from the future and say that we accomplished something special at UWB in the Spring of 2002.


I believe that the following are simple and fair guidelines based on the assumption of professional conduct on the part of each student. You are responsible for being aware of these policies throughout the quarter. These will be in force regardless of conflicting policies in other classes you have taken at UWB or elsewhere.

Individual assignments. You may not consult with any one other than the instructor in preparing individual assignments. Unless instructed otherwise, you may use the UWB Writing Center or the UWB Quantitative Skills Center in preparing individual assignments.

Examinations. You may not consult with any one other than the instructor in preparing examinations.

Group assignments. The purpose of group assignments is for you to gain experience in producing high quality work where the responsibility rests with a team rather than individual participants. This reflects the reality of an increasing number of work places. However, I often am disappointed to see group work that is of lower quality than what the individuals in the group appear capable of. This is the opposite of the intention of working as a team! Be assured that there is no lowering of standards for group assignments.

Another issue that frequently arises is conflict among group members over expectations, relative effort, reliability, etc. If this happens to you, please note: I am always willing to speak with individuals about group problems, but I will not "intervene" except in those occasions in which you have discussed the problem with the entire group and have been unsuccessful in reaching a satisfactory outcome.

Submission of written assignments and take-home examinations. The deadline for written assignments and take-home examinations is the beginning of class on the due date. E-mail or fax submissions are not acceptable unless the instructor has required this or has agreed to a specific request. Late assignments and examinations will receive no credit.

Attendance. You will not be graded on attendance, but please note: [1] you will be graded on participation; [2] if you are absent for an in-class writing assignment, you will get no credit; and [3] you are responsible for being aware of assignments and schedule changes, and you are responsible for understanding the material presented, even if you are absent.

Substitute assignments and examinations. These may be possible provided that you have written documentation of a reason that you were not able to submit the assignment on time. The substitute assignments and examinations may be oral, at the instructor's discretion.

Plagiarism. The purpose of assigning specific readings on plagiarism is to eliminate uncertainty regarding acceptable and unacceptable practices. If you have any doubt, please see me. Because you have been assigned this material, you will not be excused if you profess that you "did not know" that a given practice was unacceptable. At a minimum, incidents of plagiarism will be punished by a grade of zero (on my 10- or 100-point scale) in the relevant project.

Classroom conduct. In general, I expect that students treat the classroom as a special place because of the opportunity to share ideas and experiences.

1. Disagreement about ideas is healthy and is an essential part of the learning process. I am discouraged when students quickly converge on simple "answers." I hope that you will join me in exploring competing ideas in the exciting subject matter of this course. However, personal attacks and/or lack of respect for others and/or their ideas are unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

2. In order to maintain individual and group focus on the material at hand, please do not connect to the network during class discussion or lectures.

3. Please, no audible pagers, beepers, or cell phones.