What is a Denison Seminar?

Denison Seminars
April 1, 2014

Denison Seminars are exciting classes that are designed to encourage sophomore and junior level students to think broadly about a set of topics.

Among the innovative things Denison Seminars might do: integrate travel into the learning experience; challenge the traditional “semester-long” course structure; or be taught by a team of professors from different disciplines, thus creating opportunities to experience multiple viewpoints and approaches.

The liberal arts are all about making connections, engaging with issues and concepts on a deep level—and being active about it, not just sitting and listening in a classroom. The liberal arts are about doing. Denison Seminars are a perfect example of the liberal arts at Denison.

Why should I take such a specialized course that doesn’t count toward my major?

In the truest liberal arts tradition, Denison Seminars offer opportunities for students to experience something they may not be exposed to in any other setting.

True learning is about making connections—across disciplines, across time, across borders, and across social barriers. We want you to take these courses because you choose to, because they’re exciting, because they provide the kind of learning experience you’ll never forget. And yes, if it helps, they do count toward the general education requirement.

Why is there a travel component for many of the seminars?

The old trope is, “Travel broadens the mind.” True. But studies show that you learn the most when you travel and then come back to reflect meaningfully on the experience. The integration of study abroad into the curriculum enhances learning in ways that can be life-changing. And the combination of travel and unique faculty pairings create a crucible for developing those all-important critical thinking skills.

Why are Denison Seminars limited to sophomores and juniors?

First year students and seniors have a number of special opportunities. For example, some courses are limited to first-year students, while seniors often will have senior seminars or senior research.  First years are getting used to college life and seniors are beginning to look beyond life at Denison. But sophomores and juniors are in the midst of a great educational experience, and this new program is tailored just for them, providing insightful and exciting experiences. We hope this opportunity will catalyze their education in ways that help them to take better advantage of the time they have left on the Hill.

What else is important about Denison Seminars?

As always with Denison’s high-touch and very personalized version of the liberal arts, it’s the people. Denison Seminars have a great deal of interaction built in—inside and outside the classroom. With small classes, team-teaching, and students from all majors enrolled in the classes, there is great potential not only for building relationships with others, but also for building community.

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