This contract, written by the entering class of Spring 2007, embraces the values that we hope all Hostos Success Academy students will be able to cultivate.
We are embarking upon our college education and becoming members of the Hostos Success Academy at the same time. As we bring life to this learning community, we hope to develop the vision needed to become future leaders of Eugenio María de Hostos Community College. Because our college education will take us one step closer to starting our future careers, it is very important for us to consider our learning strategies and to identify our immediate and long-term goals.
First and foremost, in order for us to succeed in our studies, we as future professionals must commit ourselves fully to our studies so that we will learn to think critically. If we are able to think critically, we will be able to develop the judgment and insight needed to master the content of our courses and eventually become experts in our fields.
To educate our minds, we need to cultivate the right learning attitude. This means that we must attend classes regularly, be punctual, work responsibly in our groups, do our homework and turn it in on time, and study thoroughly for all tests and quizzes. As we make this effort to become exemplary students, we must be willing to take risks so that we will be able to learn from our own and others’ mistakes.
With such study skills intact, we will realize our next goal, which is to acquire knowledge in a specific field, such as accounting, business, computer science, criminal justice, early childhood education, law, medicine, and nursing. Such expertise will help us to realize our career goals and develop our character at the same time. If for some reason our studies are interrupted, we want to know that we have at least developed a love for learning all subjects.
With this knowledge, we will be able to adopt a point of view, explain it, and listen to other people’s points of view, and perhaps change what they think and what we think. As a result, because we will be more inclined to put ourselves into other people’s shoes, we will naturally improve our communications skills and learn to be comfortable in different social settings.
Finally, we hope to graduate and become role models for others. As graduates, we will serve our community by dedicating ourselves to our careers. We will also give back to the College by becoming mentors to other students in the College and people in our communities. We hope to be able to fulfill this role by devoting a certain number of hours per week to this volunteer work. As role models at Hostos, we will be an example to upcoming students. As role models and future leaders in the global community, we will inspire others to follow in our footsteps.
Without these goals in mind, it is difficult to imagine how we will be successful in the courses that we are taking together this semester: English 089 (“Basic Writing I”), Sociology 101 (“Introduction to Sociology”), VPA 192 (“Fundamentals of Public Speaking”), and the First-year Seminar. We look forward to benefiting from these courses in the following ways:
While we work on perfecting our reading and writing skills in English 089, by learning brainstorming, paragraph development, and essay organization techniques, we will learn to express ourselves better. Others will more readily understand what we understand about many different issues as a result. In Sociology 101, where we will study the behaviors of the groups and societies in which people live, we will learn to study our own culture and focus on the different aspects of life that have an impact on us all. In VPA 192, where we will develop confidence when speaking before a group and leading group discussions, we will achieve a level of self-awareness that will turn us into better people. In the First-year Seminar, where we will become familiar with the different opportunities at the College while discussing readings that reflect on educational theories and the philosophy of life, we will achieve a better understanding of where and how we fit in the world.
In our efforts to achieve all this knowledge, we will also prosper from our citizenship in this learning community, which embodies our hopes and dreams not only as individuals but also as members of society. As citizens of this learning community, we should observe three basic norms that fall under the following categories: respect, responsibility, and participation.
Because it is a key element in healthy interpersonal relationships, respect in our community will be achieved if we are quiet and we listen to what is being said when the teacher or one of our classmates is talking. We should also respect other people’s opinions and not laugh at what others say. Along with respect comes courtesy. These two values interact with each other. For example, when we hold the door for a classmate, we show courtesy as well as respect. In addition, we should always remember to return borrowed items. By observing these guidelines, respect should always be in our midst.
Responsibility is directly connected to respect. We are responsible if we always come to class on time. Coming into class while the teacher is giving a lesson is distracting and time-consuming because of the repetition that is then made necessary by the latecomer’s intrusion. Responsibility also means that even if we miss a day, we are still responsible for the class work and the homework. In addition, when working in a group, we must be responsible for doing our part. If we follow these guidelines, we should all score very high.
Lastly, through our participation in class endeavors, we put our notions of respect and responsibility to the test. When we participate in class, we interact with the professors and let them know what we understand and do not understand about the material. We also participate when we work together in groups, when we explain something that is unclear to another classmate, or when we contact each other so that we can get the work that is needed for the day. Through participation, we are also able to break down barriers of communication. Once we do so, we are more prepared to understand and appreciate our classmates’ different points of view. In effect, by participating, we should be able to overcome countless obstacles that can endanger the integrity not only of our small, individual groups but also of the greater all-encompassing Hostos Success Academy learning community.
These thoughts, which are ever-changing as they are revised from one week to another, make up our current idea of success. Hopefully, they will serve as an important point of reference for us as we progress in our college studies and in life.
Hostos Success Academy First-semester Cohort, Spring 2007, March 29, 2007