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Columba Cornerstone Questions

  • What is the Columba Cornerstone?

    The Columba Cornerstone is a four-credit, thematically-based first semester seminar that provides the gateway to inquiry and intellectual engagement for an Iona College degree. The Cornerstone is taken by all Iona College undergraduate students. Each Cornerstone is linked with another core curriculum course or introductory course to a major to form a Learning Community. Transfer students generally do not take the Cornerstone in a learning community.

    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.

    Structured to promote students’ critical thinking, the Cornerstone course emphasizes reading, writing, speaking and collaboration. All sections within the particular Cornerstone theme share a common text. All sections of the Columba Cornerstone, regardless of theme (i.e., Truth, Justice, Earth) incorporate instruction on six topics which have been designed to ground students in essential learning that supports the entirety of their Iona experience. These topics include: The Iona Story; Diversity; Information and Digital Literacy; The Learning e-Portfolio; Entrepreneurship and Innovation; and basic Financial Literacy.
  • Why has Iona College named its freshman seminar the Columba Cornerstone?

    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 which characterizes the Iona College approach to education. A statue of Saint Columba graces the center of our campus and inspires us to live out the ideals of the intellectual, artistic, and spiritual life that Columba and his first Iona community represent.
  • Are students allowed to choose the theme of the Columba Cornerstone?

    Students choose the theme when they create their course schedule. Many variables, however, are involved with crafting a course schedule including learning community availability and a student’s intended major. There is no guarantee that a student’s first choice will be available.
  • What are the themes?

    Currently, the themes are: Justice, Truth, and Earth.
  • Who teaches the Columba Cornerstone?

    In most cases, full-time faculty will teach the Columba Cornerstone as well as the course to which it is linked to form the Learning Community.
  • Why is the Columba Cornerstone course four credits?

    The Columba Cornerstone course welcomes students to the exciting pursuit of knowledge and immerses them in the central work of the College: learning. Exploration of the course theme is complemented by important topics that will help students succeed in their education and foster their integration into the Iona College community. These topics include: the Iona Story, Information and Digital Literacies, Diversity, ePortfolios, Financial Literacy and Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
  • Will the Columba Cornerstone introduce students to other Iona College professionals in addition to the professor?

    Yes. The entire Cornerstone is founded upon the idea of professors and students working together to examine topics from an interdisciplinary perspective. The course provides various opportunities to meet other academic and student life professionals as the instructor deems appropriate. Students will learn about many services and departments that are available to support their learning experience.