The ˮƵ Academic Experience

The ˮƵ academic experience blends the liberal arts and sciences with professional experience to prepare you for a purposeful career and graduate studies. Working closely with faculty and staff mentors, you emerge as an active learner and confident scholar, artist, writer, scientist, critical thinker and community leader.

At ˮƵ, you take an active role in designing your education from your very first semester – whether you've already chosen a major or are undeclared. The First Year Experience course lays the foundation for your transformative education. By looking deeply at the ways experts from different disciplines think about a complex global issue – what academics call wicked problems – this course creates opportunities for you to learn alongside peers and faculty and begin to connect your learning to your personal and professional goals.

Our Liberal Education Program – a set of ten types of courses that students in all majors take – equips you with versatile skills needed to complete successful college-level work as well as exposes you to a variety of disciplinary areas and interdisciplinary approaches. These versatile skills are also applicable and transferable in the ever-evolving professional world – and sought out by employers.

Academic Proficiencies

Proficiency in writing and quantitative literacy ensures that you’ll master the skills you need to perform effectively in the classroom and the college community.


The writing proficiency initiates you into the rigors and rewards of academic writing. In the Introduction to Academic Writing course, you’ll develop critical reading skills and foundational writing skills and processes (such as prewriting, drafting, and rewriting) that you’ll continue to develop throughout your college career – including in a writing-intensive course in your major.

Quantitative Literacy

The Quantitative Literacy course – a mathematics course of your choosing – teaches you the necessary skills to understand and use quantitative information to function effectively in your personal, public, and professional lives. An educated citizen in an increasingly information centered world must efficiently gather information, analyze it, and use it to make well-reasoned decisions on a variety of issues. The ability to assess quantitative information is also an integral part of effective communication skills.

First-Year Experience

The world is a complex place with complex problems. How is the food on our table affected by economics, cultural practices, government, and even advertising? As technology and automation continue to advance, how should we as humans think about work, productivity, and ourselves? In the face of climate change and its effects, how should we think about wellness, economic growth, inequality, and social justice?

Your First Year Experience course is an opportunity to tackle a global issue like these head on. In this class, you’ll look deeply at how experts from different disciplines think about a thorny global problem. You’ll collaborate with your classmates and various faculty members to ask questions and break new ground. The goal isn’t to solve one of these complex global issues by the end of the semester. Instead, this class is an opportunity to ask deep questions, think about them from a variety of perspectives, and begin coming up with potential solutions. You’ll be challenged to think critically, to collaborate, and to think about where your life fits in with the complex world around you. It’s your first step in your academic career at ˮƵ and the first step in your journey to become an active citizen who can lead a healthy, thoughtful, and fulfilling life in our global community.

Core Courses

At ˮƵ, you broaden your knowledge in areas outside of your major by exploring subjects across the curriculum. Some courses may also fulfill requirements in your major. You will choose one course of interest to you from each of the following areas:

  • Arts
  • Historical Perspectives
  • Humanities
  • Literature
  • Science
  • Social Science

The skills you develop in these classes will be crucial to your professional success. These core courses will teach you to write and communicate more clearly, to think critically and creatively, to navigate quantitative information, and to analyze and solve problems. These skills will help lay the groundwork for the specialized thinking you will do within your major. But they will also for a dynamic and evolving professional world after graduation. A well-rounded disciplinary background will help you to be flexible, marketable, and adaptable in your professional career.

Integrative Experience

The challenges of the 21st century underscore the need for connection and integration in student learning. Here at ˮƵ, we want you to be engaged, intentional, and mindful in your intellectual development and academic growth so that you can contribute positively to an increasingly complex and challenging global community.

The Integrative Experience class is an interdisciplinary course that is purposefully designed to give you the opportunity to look at a complex problem and apply a potential solution. These classes look outward to the world—through field studies, community-based projects, course simulations, or other major projects—and give you an opportunity to integrate, synthesize, and apply the skills and knowledge you’ve gained from your other liberal education courses by applying them to a complex topic. Like the First Year Experience, course topics are diverse, and we encourage you to choose one of interest to you so you can connect to the world around you in a deeply personal way.

Internship Experience

Internships are field experiences collaboratively supervised by faculty, staff and work site professionals. Our internship program requires you to complete at least one internship in order to graduate and enhances your academic learning with experience related to your career interests in local, national and international settings.

Learning Portfolios

The learning e-Portfolio is an opportunity to exhibit your personal and professional growth, as well as to record how you have met ˮƵ's learning outcomes. Learning portfolios include samples of your work and reflections on your experiences in your major, the Liberal Education Program and across the college.

The Learning Portfolio also provides us with an assessment of our academic programs.

Capstone Experience

The Capstone experience is the culmination of your academic experience and is proof that you have undergone a rigorous, multi-disciplinary education with depth in your major area and are ready for success in the workforce or graduate school.

Before graduating, you must complete a Capstone research project unique to your major and present the results to faculty, administration, staff and the community at the annual Susan Colby Colgate Scholars' Symposium.

Across the College

ˮƵ's approach to education recognizes that engaged learning takes place in and outside the classroom and that it is a lifelong adventure. Facets of the educational process — the courses, the learning portfolio, advising and co-curricular activities — combine to achieve the learning outcomes which reflect the college's mission and values.


You are introduced to the college experience in the orientation program. In addition to social events and co-curricular programming, the orientation program introduces you to the higher education environment in general, and of ˮƵ in particular.

Residential Life

Programming in the residence halls focuses on helping you become more independent by exploring various aspects of campus and community activities, and making connections with other students, as well as faculty and staff.

Leadership Development

Develop leadership skills through clubs and organizations, internships and other career development experiences, in the residence halls and classrooms, in athletics and recreation, and in other co-curricular activities.

Experiential Learning

Participate in study away, alternative spring breaks, internships, clubs, student government and community service to foster the application of learning and the development of social responsibility.

Career Planning

Take advantage of a variety of career exploration activities, including skill assessment, making career choices, resume building, job searching, interview skills, networking and professional etiquette. As a senior we help you prepare for the transition from our college community to the communities of work and/or advanced study.