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2013 Home > Our Curriculum
The future of Colby’s reputation and competitiveness depends on our success in the core mission of educating undergraduates. By building on long-standing, organic strengths, Colby can cement its place among the best liberal arts colleges in the world and sharpen its profile in that very competitive marketplace.
Revising and expanding Colby's writing program and requirements, developing a more consistent and comprehensive approach to oral communication skills, and improving ways to evaluate learning are curricular goals that cross disciplinary boundaries. Central to the College's cultivation of students' intellectual and critical abilities—and to our graduates' success demonstrating their capacities—is their ability to communicate clearly and persuasively, in writing and orally. Changes to the critically important first-year writing curriculum and a College-wide approach to writing across the curriculum throughout all four years are being introduced. These initiatives require resources for training professors and for strategic expansion of the teaching faculty.
Colby is committed to reinforcing the quality and the breadth of offerings in the January Program, as well as equity of access to Jan Plan experiences. Fifty years after Colby pioneered the January Program, in 1962, a review found that Jan Plan remains "a defining characteristic of the undergraduate experience at Colby." Support is needed for Colby to fulfill the ideal that financial need not be a deterrent for any student's Jan Plan experience, whether it is an unpaid internship in New York, a special course on campus, or study abroad.
Already a national leader in environmental studies and sustainability, Colby recently formed a strategic partnership with Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences and added a marine conservation track in environmental studies. Additional opportunities exist to expand environmental studies offerings, and additional resources also are needed to foster richer interactions between environmental studies and traditionally strong science programs.
With an extraordinary art museum, strong academic programs in visual arts, extensive new digital resources, and a budding cinema studies minor, Colby has become a premier destination for undergraduates seeking the best possible exposure to and engagement with the visual arts. Expansion of the museum, the arrival of works in the Lunder Collection, and new partnerships with the Maine Film Center and the Maine International Film Festival extend Colby's unique strengths in the visual arts, but additional faculty, museum staff, and museum security require resources to support and sustain the new level of excellence.
Colby's long-standing strengths in public policy, public affairs, and civic engagement were substantially extended by the Goldfarb Center, founded in 2003. More is needed in years to come as we continue efforts to build a permanent operating endowment for the center. As foundation grants that helped establish the Goldfarb Center expire, the College needs to fund its operating budget at the same time that we evaluate opportunities to further strengthen the program to enhance the student experience and bring additional attention to Colby.
A historic strength in Colby's academic program, the humanities remain a core component of liberal arts education for majors and non-majors. With 95 faculty members deployed in 12 humanities departments and programs, Colby has an opportunity to recruit extremely talented, motivated students at a time when resources and enrollments in other schools' humanities programs are experiencing declines. The faculty is engaged in efforts to refocus and revitalize humanities programs at Colby to take strategic advantage. These efforts, including a cross-disciplinary humanities and arts organization modeled after the Goldfarb Center, will require the College to deploy resources where other institutions are making cuts.