Learning Outside the Classroom


By Ruth Jacobs
Photography by Kendyl Sullivan '11

sexual assault awareness program meeting
This sexual assault awareness program was one of many to offer life skills as part of the residential experience at Colby. Photo by Kendyl Sullivan ’11.
A new plan for student life aims to enhance the residential experience at Colby and to help students develop real-life skills.

Dubbed Colby 360, the plan is based on 360-degree learning; it relates coursework to life on Mayflower Hill and beyond. Colby 360 encourages self-governance in residence halls, offers leadership-training opportunities, emphasizes civic responsibility, and works on enhancing communications skills.

“There is a very deliberate intent to make the out-of-classroom experience more related to the in-the-classroom experience,” said Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Jim Terhune, who spearheaded the effort.

The program includes five key areas: developing life skills, understanding diversity, understanding democracy and civic engagement, promoting wellness and healthy lifestyles, and providing leadership education.

For example, one change rolled out this spring is the application process for leadership positions. Students will now use the writing and presentation skills they learn in class to craft cover letters to apply for positions like COOT (Colby Outdoor Orientation Trip) leader and Pugh Community Board member. “We’re going to ask them to take this on as a job interview,” said Director of Campus Life Kelly Wharton, “in order to demonstrate some of these skills.”

Other things planned or in place include ongoing, interactive programs about diversity issues, dorm programming that includes elements of Colby 360, and budget management. Beginning in the fall of 2008, every residence hall will initiate a civic engagement component, whether it’s local, national, or international. “We want students, through their residence halls, to be looking outward as well—in an ongoing and meaningful way,” said Terhune.

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