My Iona

Columba Cornerstone

The Columba Cornerstone course welcomes students to the exciting pursuit of knowledge and immerses them in the central work of the College: learning.

This 3-credit freshman seminar is the foundation of the Core Curriculum and is taken by all Iona University undergraduate students in the first semester. These seminars will be a thematically-based gateway to inquiry and engagement.

Themes for the Columba Cornerstone include: Truth and Equity, Justice and Equity, and Earth and Equity. You will choose your theme when you create your course schedule.

Named for Saint Columba (521-597 CE), an early medieval monk who founded a center of learning, culture and spirituality on the Isle of Iona off the west coast of Scotland, the Columba Cornerstone introduces you to time-honored questions in the liberal arts through these themes.

Through the Columba Cornerstone, you will explore topics that are critical to our times, including diversity and sustainability in a digitally and globally connected world, and you will use your learning experience to consider new, cutting-edge approaches to traditional problems.

Columba Cornerstone Components

Your Columba Cornerstone course will be linked with another core curriculum course or introductory course and will create a learning community for you and give you a new perspective on your topic.

All sections within the particular Cornerstone theme share a common text, allowing you to collaborate with students who might not be in the same course but who share your interest in your chosen theme.

You will be working closely with your faculty and fellow students and building lasting communities and friendships. You will also have opportunities to learn about the many services and departments that are available to support your learning experience!

Whichever theme you choose, your Columba Cornerstone course will provide instruction on four topics, which have been designed to help you build a foundation of essential learning and enhance your Iona experience.

These topics include:

  1. The Iona Story
  2. Diversity and Inclusion
  3. Information and Digital Literacy
  4. Critical Thinking

Structured to deepen your critical thinking skills, the Cornerstone course emphasizes reading, writing, speaking and collaboration.

Your Cornerstone course integrates classroom and experiential learning. You will be required to engage in a minimum of two co-curricular activities, such as:

  • Attending an Iona Theatre Program production or viewing a Chapman Gallery exhibit
  • Participating in service activities with Mission and Ministry
  • Attending a Week of the Peacemaker or Heritage Week event
  • Participating in R-U-OK? trainings sponsored by the Counseling Center
  • Attending a Careers in Science Lecture
  • Participating in a Hynes Center competition


Elena Procario-Foley

Elena G. Procario-Foley, Ph.D.

Director, Core Curriculum

Br. John G. Driscoll Professor of Jewish-Catholic Studies

Professor of Religious Studies