Spotlight on Gateway Courses

How does a ‘common syllabus’ course for first-year students benefit the students? And how can those benefits be shared with wider audiences? Ursinus has been leading a grant to explore the issues.

Two years ago, Ursinus was selected to lead four colleges in an exploration of “gateway” courses, like its Common Intellectual Experience, which is required for all first-year students. The initiative, called Gateways to Liberal Education is supported by a $243,000 grant from The Teagle Foundation, and includes Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn., The College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., and Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisc.

This week (July 12-15), the participating faculty from all four schools are meeting for the last grant-funded conference at Ursinus College, to assess the two-year exploration of how the first-year student experience in courses with common  texts, can prepare students to develop the judgment needed in their careers and in their lives.

A plenary session Monday at 4 p.m. will include panel members  Charles Blaich, Director of the Center of Inquiry at Wabash College and the Higher Education Data Sharing Consortium (HEDS), Wabash College; Kathy Wise, Associate Director of the Center of Inquiry, Wabash College; Roosevelt Montas, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Director of the Core Curriculum, Columbia University; Richard Morrill, former president of the Teagle Foundation, currently Chancellor and Distinguished University Professor of Ethics and Democratic Values at the University of Richmond and Paul Stern, Professor of Politics, Ursinus College. 

Later, alumni of the colleges will speak on their personal experiences.

The grant concurs with the Teagle Foundation’s interest  in seeking and supporting courses and programs that equip students to deal effectively with questions of meaning, value, and responsibility that will persist throughout their lives.

More information and a schedule is found in the links from this page.