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  • A. Academic Program
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1. Liberal Arts Core Curriculum Revised by vote of the faculty in spring 2009, the Liberal Arts Core Curriculum consists of four required interdisciplinary components: Legacies of the Ancient World, Challenges of Modernity, Scientific Perspectives on the World, and Communities and Identities. Students are also required to take one Global Engagements (GE) course drawn from departments and programs across the University, and two courses from each of the Areas of Inquiry: Human Thought and Expression; Social Relations, Institutions, and Agents; and Natural Sciences and Mathematics. A course taken to fulfill GE credit may also fulfill an Area of Inquiry Requirement. A fuller description of the Liberal Arts Core Curriculum Program may be found in the Catalogue.

Colgate’s Core Curriculum continues to be an important part of the liberal arts curriculum, and faculty members coming to Colgate can expect to participate in the program. The Liberal Arts Core Curriculum is administered by the Division of University Studies.


2. First-Year Seminars One of the courses every first-year student takes during the fall term is the first-year seminar, designed to combine exploration of an academic subject with the opportunity for developing a closer student-faculty relationship than would otherwise be possible for students beginning their first term at Colgate. The seminars are normally capped at 18 students. The first-year seminar instructor becomes the student’s academic adviser for the first two years or until a student declares a major by the spring of the sophomore year (for more information on first-year student and sophomore advising, see Section III.M.4). Many first-year seminars are drawn from the core curriculum and satisfy a requirement within the liberal arts core curriculum. Other seminars serve as introductory departmental courses and count for concentration requirements, and still others fulfill Area of Inquiry requirements. Students receive a grade for the first-year seminar in the conventional manner.

Many members of the faculty teach in the first-year seminar program, since forty or so seminars are offered every fall. Because of the two-year advising responsibility, faculty members usually do not find it desirable to teach first-year seminars in consecutive years. Over a two- or three-year period, therefore, many continuing members of the faculty are involved in the first-year seminar program. Assignment of first-year seminar instructors is made by department chairs in consultation with members of their departments (see Section III.M.4.a).

The first-year seminar program is administered by the office of the dean of the faculty in coordination with the university studies division director.


3. Major/Minor Programs Department and program majors, as the name implies, are supervised by academic departments and interdisciplinary programs, with some, such as biology and romance languages, having more than one such program. The department of physical education does not offer a major. Specific requirements for each department and program majors may be found in the chapter on “Courses of Study” in the Colgate University Catalogue.

On rare occasions, students may also develop a topical major. Topical majors encompass more than one discipline. The various topical major programs are administered at the divisional level — Arts and Humanities, Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and Social Sciences — although some topical majors cross divisional lines. Student topical major programs are approved by the respective division directors. Descriptions of the individual topical major programs, including the requirements for each, may be found in the “Undergraduate Program” and “Courses of Study” chapters in the Colgate University Catalogue.

Every department and nearly every program at Colgate offers an optional minor. A full description of University rules for all minor programs is found in the Catalogue.

Students must declare an official major in their fourth term, prior to course registration (typically mid-March). At that time, the department or program assigns a new faculty adviser who will advise the student for the next two years. In order to declare a major or minor officially, students complete a Declaration of Major/Minor form (available in the Office of the Registrar), have it signed by the new faculty adviser and the department chair or program director, and submit it to the registrar.  Students may elect to have a single major, a double major, a major and a minor, or a major and two minors.  


4. Off-Campus Study Program Colgate’s program of off-campus study includes semester-long Colgate study groups that are offered annually or biennially, approved programs (fully implemented for the Class of 2016 and beyond), and extended study opportunities. The strength and diversity of these programs are rooted in the initiative, energy, and commitment of faculty directors who develop and lead individual groups and in the faculty who invest their time in the careful review of approved programs. 

Administration of the Off-Campus Study Program The Off-Campus Study Committee (OCSC) is appointed by the Dean of the Faculty and is comprised of several faculty members who have served as study group directors. The committee reviews all proposals for off-campus study programs and conducts periodic assessments of longstanding study groups and approved programs. Matters of study group curriculum should be directed to the Chair of the OCSC, but the Dean’s Advisory Council is ultimately responsible for the curriculum. The Director of Off-Campus Study/International Programs (OCS/IP), who serves on the committee and reports to the Dean of the Faculty, is responsible for the general oversight and logistical support of the Program.

Colgate study groups and extended study programs are directed by a faculty member who assumes responsibility for the program while away from campus. In addition to providing academic leadership, the faculty director must act in the capacity of an administrative adviser with respect to the members of the group. The faculty director is financially accountable to the University for all expenditures, which must be supported by adequate documentation. Faculty members who cannot accept the responsibilities of providing sound academic leadership, student counseling, and financial accountability will not be permitted by the Dean of the Faculty to lead future off-campus study programs. Faculty may not normally lead study groups in a semester that coincides with or directly follows a third-year review or tenure decision.

Creation of New Programs

A. Colgate Study Groups Faculty members and departments interested in proposing new Study Groups should speak first with the Chair of the Off-Campus Study Committee and the Director of Off-Campus Study/International Programs. Proposals are reviewed by the OCSC on an annual basis in the fall, but faculty who wish to propose a new group should consult with the director of OCS/IP well before this. No costs for a proposed study group may be incurred before the Dean has granted “approval in principle” to the group.

Study groups must have a clear educational purpose and be of demonstrable academic value to students. Groups must also demonstrate that they have continuity of leadership, whether they are sponsored by a department or by an interdisciplinary staff, and each proposed group should list a steering committee. All groups must be economically feasible to operate, and each must have a minimum enrollment of twelve qualified students 120 days before departure. These four considerations will help guide the OCSC in making recommendations to the Dean of the Faculty.

Detailed guidelines for study group program and budget proposals are provided in the Director’s Manual for off-Campus Study Groups available from OCS/IP.

B. Extended Study Programs provide a way to extend courses beyond the traditional semester with an off-campus component in either May, August or January. Three to five weeks in duration, extended study courses complement and/or supplement students’ academic experience by providing access to sites and institutions not available on campus. Extended study may precede or follow the on-campus portion of a course or follow one or more on-campus prerequisite courses.

Faculty members interested in proposing a new extended study course should submit a one-page preliminary plan to the director of OCS/IP and to the chair of the OCSC with copies to their department chair (and interdisciplinary program director, if applicable), division director(s), and to the associate dean of the faculty. The preliminary plan should be a short description of the program that the faculty member will be asked to develop more fully if the idea of the new extended study is approved in principle.

Full proposals are reviewed annually at the end of the fall semester by the OCSC, the Dean’s Advisory Council and in the case of high- risk destinations, Risk Management. Colgate will normally try to offer four to six extended study programs each year. In the event of a large number of proposals, please refer to the Extended Study Guidelines available from OCS/IP for criteria that will be used to balance offerings.

C. Approved Programs Starting with the Class of 2016, students wishing to study abroad, but whose academic interests are not best served by one of Colgate’s study groups, will be able to choose from a list of vetted and approved non-Colgate programs. Identification of new approved programs usually will occur at the request of interested faculty and academic departments/interdisciplinary programs. Ideally, faculty from several departments will collaboratively recommend a destination or program to the OCSC that they believe will serve curricular needs.

Programs under consideration for the approved programs list will be vetted by the registrar and academic departments/interdisciplinary programs for credit transferability and by OCS/IP for appropriate risk management and student administrative support. In addition, the OCSC will take into account the program’s academic rigor, the extent to which credit from the program can be integrated into a Colgate student’s academic plan, and the potential impact on relevant Colgate departments and study groups.

Review of Programs Students enrolled in off-campus study programs are expected to complete an evaluation of the off-campus study experience, which addresses the content of their program, the courses, the director’s leadership performance and the program administration. When the off- campus study program includes a credit-bearing component on campus, such as may be the case with extended study courses, both the standard SET form and evaluation of off-campus study experience will be completed. Evaluation forms are distributed by faculty directors of Colgate study groups and extended study programs and by OCS/IP for approved programs. Completed evaluation forms are returned to OCS/IP.

Faculty directors of Colgate study groups and extended study programs must submit a financial report and final general program report to OCS/IP upon the conclusion of the program. Details regarding the content of these reports are available from OCS/IP. A copy of the final general report should also be filed with the faculty director’s department chair or chair of the interdisciplinary program, and made available to the next director.

Study groups of long standing are reviewed in full once every four years. This assessment is conducted by members of the study group’s steering committee, academic department(s) or interdisciplinary programs(s) who review past directors’ reports and submit a written self-study to the chair of the OCSC. The self-study highlights the strengths, discusses the challenges, and suggests recommendations for the future of the study group. Detailed information regarding the content of the full review is available from OCS/IP.

The OCSC will review each approved program every four years, as it does Colgate study groups. Review will include a careful consideration of the number of students participating in the approved program; student evaluations of the program; a list of all courses transferred into Colgate from the program in the previous four years, including major and minor credits earned; comments solicited by OCS/IP from departments whose majors have studied on the program as to their view of the academic experience; and any demonstrated effect on Colgate study groups.


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