Contact Dawn Insanalli, director of Public Relations, at (914) 637-2726 or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students to Learn to Appreciate Interrelationships Between Different Course Studies
New Rochelle, NY (July 2009) What do Plato and NATO have in common? On the surface, there doesn’t appear to be a connection between the fourth century B.C. Greek philosopher and today’s North Atlantic Treaty Organization. But, that isn’t the way Dr. Brian Nickerson, Iona College Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, sees it. Indeed, Dr. Nickerson argues there are strong relationships between seemingly different course subjects like philosophy and history or mathematics and political science. And seeing linkages and recognizing cross-cutting themes are key to understanding in an increasingly complex world.
In a break with the traditional approach to college education, some students in the freshman class of 2009 will be examining the interrelationships between a variety of different subjects as part of new Learning Community program for first-year students that Iona College is launching. The initiative—unique to Westchester’s higher education—builds on Iona College’s 69-year tradition of immersing students in a strong academic curriculum and fostering a campus learning community dedicated to their intellectual, spiritual and personal growth. In the new educational model, mastery of course material will continue to be required but the subjects will be linked together—not separate and apart—and taught in a stimulating and challenging academic environment comprising both the traditional classroom and the students’ social and residential experience.
Dr. Nickerson said: “The conventional wisdom is that a well-rounded college education helps prepare young men and women to succeed as leaders in business and in their communities. Though that is still true and is the hallmark of an excellent education at Iona, it’s also clear that looking at the world today and solving problems necessitate taking a holistic and integrated view—examining a variety of factors and issues.”
The Learning Community initiative will be phased in over the next two years for all first-year students. The first step in the process has begun this summer with members of the freshman class of 2009 being assigned to full-time Iona faculty academic advisors. During an in-depth summer orientation, the advisors are helping all incoming students to make the transition to college life.
The advisors will also guide the students to select their major areas of study, identify career path options and work with them until they make their choices. The College’s School of Arts and Science offers more than 40 baccalaureate-level BA, BS and BPS programs and over 20 graduate-level Masters degree and certificate programs in a variety of traditional liberal arts, pre-professional and professional disciplines.
The interaction of the students with the academic advisors and faculty will lay the foundation for one of the Learning Community’s important goals: to forge strong relationships that will enhance the learning process throughout the student’s college experience.
A total of 150 resident and commuter students will be selected to participate in Learning Community Clusters starting in September and continuing throughout the academic year. The primary goal of the clusters is to encourage students to appreciate the interrelationships between many subjects and how these relations may be understood to understand complex global and societal issues. The Iona faculty will underscore these connections and help the students to tie them together.
Dr. Nickerson noted that time will be allocated for the instructors and students to
“talk about these connections in the course material and to share experiences that advance the theme of the learning community.” These connections will be reinforced though a variety of connected co-curricular activities, such as service learning projects.
Students residing on campus will also be given the option of living in a learning community floor that will be centered around a particular area of study or theme such as the science of education or a theme such as wellness. The floors will provide a variety of additional educational-based activities for residents and be equipped with lounge space, computer and meeting space for the professors. “Bringing education to the dorms will reinforce the fact that students today learn both in and out of the classroom,” Dr. Nickerson stated.
By the fall of 2011, Iona College plans on implementing the new Learning Community Clusters for all incoming students.“This model will take Iona’s mission to a new level of equipping students with the integrated skills and perspective necessary to succeed in a rapidly changing environment,” said Dr. Nickerson.
Founded in 1940, Iona College is a four-year private, coeducational institution of learning in the tradition of the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers and American Catholic higher education. It is a diverse community of learners and scholars dedicated to academic excellence and the values of justice, peace and service. Iona offers undergraduate degrees in liberal arts, science, and business administration, as well as Master of Arts, Master of Science and Master of Business Administration degrees and numerous advanced certificate programs.
For questions or more information please contact:
Public Relations Office
Iona College, 715 North Avenue, New Rochelle, N.Y. 10801
Office: (914) 637-2726
Fax: (914) 637-2711
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