Faculty move new curriculum forward

For more than two years, the entire Connecticut College community has been engaged in a comprehensive review of the general curriculum with the goal of strengthening the academic experience of every student.

“It’s a new, integrated approach to liberal learning, and when it is complete, Connecticut College will have by far one of the best liberal arts programs in the country,” said President Katherine Bergeron.

Faculty are leading the process, called reVision, and this week they voted to approve the continued development of a four-year integrated curriculum and to implement enhancements to the College’s first-year seminar and advising programs. These changes will be introduced in Fall 2015.

The first-year seminars, which are small, discussion-based and writing-intensive courses, will be redesigned to provide a stronger grounding in the liberal arts and in the core values of the College. The revised seminars will feature new opportunities for students to engage with each other and the broader community; they will offer a forum for exploring issues of equity and inclusion from different disciplinary perspectives; and they will encourage students to begin thinking openly and creatively not only about college but also their lives after college.

Connecticut College students will be supported in this work by a new “team” advising system. The team will include the first-year seminar instructor, a staff member and a student peer adviser, who will work together to provide guidance and resources to help students make the most of their college experience. While the particular make-up of the team will change once a student declares a major, students will continue working with their advising team through graduation.

“We are providing students with more holistic advising and a great support structure,” said Marc Zimmer, dean of studies and the Tempel Professor of Chemistry, who participated in a team-advising pilot this fall. “This close mentorship will continue across four years.”

The new structure of the first-year seminars also provides opportunities for faculty to bring together students from different seminars to talk about areas of mutual interest, engage with guest speakers, and complete writing, oral communication and library research workshops.

Over the next several months, faculty will be working to refine additional elements of the new curriculum.

Sammi Brown ’15, who serves on the educational planning committee with faculty, says it is an exciting time to be a student at Connecticut College.

“I feel extremely privileged to be part of this community effort,” she said. “We are working to make sure that every class and experience builds progressively and connects to prepare students, as our mission says, to put the liberal arts into action.”

November 7, 2014