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Columba Cornerstone

A Freshman Seminar Experience

The Core Curriculum provides a common learning experience steeped in the rich tradition of the liberal arts and its foundation is the Columba Cornerstone, Iona College’s freshman seminar. Saint Columba (521-597 CE), an early medieval monk, founded a center of learning, culture, and spirituality on the Isle of Iona off the west coast of Scotland. The historic name of the learned Columba invokes the approach to the whole person and the integration of learning in which Iona College seeks to educate its students. Students will develop an appreciation for the interrelatedness among and connections across areas of inquiry early in their Iona experience. These seminars will be a thematically-based gateway to inquiry and engagement.

Each fall semester, three Cornerstones will be offered which draw on the values articulated in the Core Curriculum mission statement with each seminar using a particular thematic lens, thus fostering a distinctly Iona College perspective. Themes will be rotated over time and students will have an opportunity to rank the themes in order of their preference as their first semester schedules are developed.

The Columba Cornerstone introduces students to time-honored questions in the liberal arts through the themes of Truth, Justice, and Earth. Using these particular themes, students will explore questions about the nature of knowing, dive deeply into analyses of identities, and probe the many dimensions of human interrelatedness. Grounded firmly in the mission statement of the Core Curriculum, the Columba Cornerstone will introduce students to critical concerns of our time such as diversity and sustainability in a digitally and globally connected world. Motivated by the values and goals of peace, justice, and service, the Cornerstone will utilize classic and contemporary texts, co-curricular engagements, and a variety of pedagogies to consider new approaches to traditional problems and cutting-edge insights for the 21st century.

The course designation in People Soft is COL 150.

Highlights of the Columba Cornerstone:

  • 4 credits
  • Learning Community Experience
    • Columba Cornerstone sections will be connected with another course to create a learning community experience. A cohort of students will take two courses with each other, forming lasting bonds with each other while experiencing the interplay between professors and disciplines.
  • Common Primary Text
  • Critical Thinking Units
  • Introducing strategies and skills-development for critical writing, speaking, reading, and collaboration.
  • Diversity-infusion
  • Interdisciplinary Approaches to Themes
  • Co-curricular Experiences
    • Fully integrated into the Columba Cornerstone, co-curricular experiences help to facilitate a strong sense of community, encourage commitment to peace, justice, service, and diversity, and help to prepare Iona College students to become global citizens.
  • GAEL Hour – The fourth credit hour of the Columba Cornerstone helps students to engage with all the resources of Iona College. An “Iona Life” curriculum includes the following learning modules: informational and digital literacies; understanding multicultural diversity; the Iona College story; eportfolio; and financial literacy.