The following components of the Connections program pertain to all students entering Connecticut College in Fall 2016 or later:
All first-year students must enroll in a first-year seminar during their initial semester at Connecticut College. First-year seminars are limited to 16 students and focus on close student-faculty interaction, lively exchange of views, and instruction in writing and critical reading and analysis. Dozens of seminars in a wide array of topics are offered each year. The seminar instructor also serves as a student's pre-major adviser.
World Languages and Cultures
As Connecticut College students actively engage in global communities, both domestically and internationally, it is imperative that they develop an ability to empathize, communicate, and collaborate with others from diverse cultures in their own languages. The study of world languages and cultures, present and past, provides a unique catalyst for fostering a mode of critical thinking that creates true cultural understanding, one that recognizes relationships shaped by power, privilege, identity, and social location.
As a foundation for incorporating world languages and cultures into students’ academic programs, each student will complete a minimum of two semesters of study of one language at any level, either at Connecticut College or at a comparable institution. (Advanced Placement credit will not satisfy this requirement.) Normally, language courses will be completed by the end of the sophomore year so that students may incorporate and deepen their knowledge in culminating work in the junior and senior years. In addition, students will work closely with advisers to incorporate their language learning into co-curricular experiences, such as internships, study away, research, student teaching, and volunteer opportunities.
Students who achieve advanced-level proficiency in a language, and who apply their language in an international or other practical context, may have this noted on their academic transcript.
All students will be required to complete one designated ConnCourse for graduation. This course should be completed within the first two years of study. Transfer students entering Connecticut College with 56 credits or more are exempt from this requirement.
In ConnCourses, students connect areas of the liberal arts and explore different modes of thinking. ConnCourses cultivates and encourages an integrative approach to learning and problem-solving. In addition, these courses help students develop fundamental skills that can be applied throughout their studies, instilling deep intellectual curiosity and a desire for lifelong learning.
Students will have the option of enrolling in an Integrative Pathway. Designed and implemented by interdisciplinary groups of faculty members, Pathways offer students an opportunity to achieve academic integration within a broad intellectual framework. Every Pathway is organized around a central theme, in relation to which students will consider an animating question that provides a focus for their work.
Each Integrative Pathway consists of four principal components:
- Thematic Inquiry: Every student must take a designated course that presents the theme and provides an overview of the Pathway.
- Curricular Itinerary: These three courses, taken in a variety of departments and disciplines, allow students to explore the theme of the Pathway in light of their animating questions. (See the links below to specific Pathways for a list of possible Curricular Itinerary courses.)
- Global/Local Engagement: Each Pathway requires students to pursue purposeful engagement in a local or international context, such as study away, an internship, or community-based learning.
- Senior Reflection: Each Pathway provides an opportunity during the fall of the senior year for students to reflect on the different elements of their Pathway, in the context of their overall undergraduate experience. This component is connected to an All-College Symposium, at which students will share their responses to their animating questions with the wider College community.
While many Integrative Pathways are still under development, the following Pathways have been approved by the faculty:
- Entrepreneurship, Social Innovation, Value and Change
- Eye of the Mind: Interrogating the Liberal Arts
- Global Capitalism
- Peace and Conflict
- Public Health
- Social Justice and Sustainability: Developing Resilient Communities Locally and Globally
A certificate from one of the College’s academic centers will be considered equivalent to the completion of an Integrative Pathway:
- Goodwin-Niering Center for the Environment
- Toor Cummings Center for International Studies and the Liberal Arts
- Holleran Center for Community Action and Public Policy
- Ammerman Center for Arts and Technology
Students obtaining a center certificate will still be expected to complete courses in four Modes of Inquiry, taken in different departments.
Modes of Inquiry
The five Modes of Inquiry represent broad ways through which human beings know and experience the world, others, and self. The focus of this system is on the development of critical and imaginative capacities. Achieving intellectual breadth in these areas will develop students’ abilities to address complex problems, to express ideas through well-supported arguments and in creative forms, and to engage in a dynamic world with knowledge of historical context and cultural variation.
The Modes of Inquiry are:
- Creative Expression
- Critical Interpretation and Analysis
- Quantitative and Formal Reasoning
- Scientific Inquiry and Analysis
- Social and Historical Inquiry
(Click on the links above for a current list of all the Mode of Inquiry courses.)
Students enrolled in an Integrative Pathway must complete courses in at least four of the five Modes of Inquiry, at least three of which must be within their Pathway. Students not enrolled in a Pathway are required to complete courses in all five Modes. Every Mode of Inquiry course must be taken in a different department, as defined by the course designations.
Writing Across the Curriculum
Each student must complete two designated Writing (W) courses. For most students, one of these courses will be a first-year seminar.
Writing courses are designed to integrate the teaching of writing with the teaching of subject matter, and to foster a deep connection between writing and critical thinking. Courses that fulfill the writing requirement normally include the following elements:
- A minimum range of 15 to 25 pages of graded writing
- Writing assignments distributed over the course of the semester
- Feedback from the instructor on writing, along with opportunities for students to make use of these suggestions
- Time devoted to discussing skills and strategies for writing