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Simpson Colloquium


All entering, degree-seeking students will take a Simpson Colloquium in their first semester. Instructors organize seminars to meet the particular needs of different cohorts (i.e., separate sections for first-year students, undergraduates of the Division of Continuing & Graduate Programs and full-time transfers).

Simpson Colloquium is an introductory college course that seeks to integrate new students into an academic culture focused on engaged citizenship during their first semester on campus. The course serves several purposes. First, it familiarizes students with the tradition of liberal arts education through the focused study of important issues– “big questions.” Second, the course provides students with a solid foundation for future academic work, both by focusing on essential skills (Written Communications and Critical Thinking) and by introducing them to campus resources. Finally, Simpson Colloquium provides students with opportunities to grow personally and intellectually, thereby enhancing their satisfaction with college life.

Required Course Characteristics

A Simpson Colloquium will :

  • normally have no more than 18 students enrolled per section
  • be an autonomous element of the curriculum. It will not carry a departmental designation, and it cannot be used to meet major or minor requirements
  • address substantial topics, questions, or issues in a manner that encourages engaged citizenship
  • be open to all incoming students without prerequisite
  • meet the course requirements for the Critical Thinking (CT) embedded skills
  • meet the course requirements for the Written Communication (WC) embedded skills. This stage stresses the varied expectations of writing across the curriculum rather than the peculiarities of the instructor’s discipline
  • incorporate opportunities for students to familiarize themselves with Dunn Library and Hawley Academic Resource Center
  • include various components that address the enhancement of student engagement, sense of purpose and vocation at Simpson College.The specifics of this component will be determined by individual faculty members.    Possible examples include : Forum events, guest speakers, working with the career services office, working with the counseling services office, service learning, service projects, social events
  • include a standard, campus-wide diagnostic instrument to assess the writing proficiency of every student. Like other WC courses, this course may include collaborative writing; however because of this diagnostic function every student must independently complete at least 3,000 words of graded writing (approximately 12 standard double-spaced pages)
  • include a student peer leader trained in various aspects of student development (optional if course is being offered through the Division of Continuing & Graduate Programs)
  • be taught by instructors who will serve as the students’ academic advisors (unless the course is being offered through the Division of Continuing & Graduate Programs)

Simpson Colloquium Learning Objectives

Through the completion of a Simpson Colloquium, students should be able to:

  • articulate the purpose and advantages of a liberal arts education
  • explain how the components of the Engaged Citizenship Curriculum work together
  • demonstrate familiarity with various campus resources that provide academic support, including (but not limited to) Dunn Library and Hawley Academic Resource Center
  • fulfill the stated learning objectives of the WC embedded skill
  • fulfill the stated learning objectives of the CT embedded skill