participation statements

Prompt: Beginning of quarter: Please write one page on your mission statement – What would you like to learn? How? Why? – and how you plan to participate. End of quarter: Please reflect on your mission and how you participated.

I generally ask students to write a mission statement and participation statement. I’ve found that these short statements serve many purposes. Not least, getting to know students and responding to their interests.

Your mission statement

Please tell me two things you would like to learn, how you would like to learn them, and why?

Your participation statement

By actively participating in class you can develop your professional skills for design. Here are some basic ideas for how to participate:

  • Treat all with respect – be constructive in all discussions
  • Come to class prepared – read carefully and be ready for discussion
  • Be an active listener – be attentive, be engaged, use in-class technology with discretion
  • Ask challenging questions, participate in discussion
  • Challenge, build on, or clarify what others have done or said
  • Visit the instructor during office hours to chat, to ask questions, or to give feedback.

Some additional goals to consider

  • Speak more – or less! – than usual
  • Practice thinking fast on your feet
  • Give openings to others 
  • Challenge or build upon others
  • Focus on listening
  • Use your body to communicate   
  • Show vulnerability by, for example, asking about topics that you do not understand but think you should
  • Direct comments or questions to others
  • Contribute new readings from the popular press or research literature
  • Make an appreciation for someone else’s questions, design ideas, or comments


On one page, write clearly and concisely. Include your name, phonetic pronunciation, and your pronouns.

Part I: At the beginning of the quarter. Please submit one page.

Part II: At the end of the quarter. Please submit one page on what you learned about your mission statement and how you actually participated.

Please note

It is acceptable to not have a mission statement and to not have goals for participation. As students and human beings, we don’t have set goals for all of our work and reflect on everything. Sometimes, we can just be – without goals and without reflection. If this applies to you, please say so.