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Introduction to Liberal Arts

Introduction to Liberal Arts (ILA) is a transition into the Monmouth College learning community which values the spirit of inquiry in pursuit of academic excellence.

In this seminar, which is required of all first year students and is taught by faculty from departments across campus, you are invited to explore questions of human values and purposes. These are central values of the Liberal Arts and through them and through our work with common texts, convocations, and other activities, we consider the meaning and significance of complex issues raised by our theme of Self, Stranger, and Community.

Prior to entering the learning community of Monmouth College in the fall of 2017, you are asked to complete a few assignments.

  1. Our ILA required summer reading is Becoming a Learner by Matthew L. Sanders. You should have received this book at Scots Summer Orientation or through the mail.
  2. Our ILA required summer movie is Devil's Playground (2002), a documentary directed by Lucy Walker. This film can be found at various online streaming sources including YouTube.
  3. There are also two groups of questions for you to consider as you work through the reading and the movie. Your answers need to be typed, and you should bring a printed copy of your answers to class with you on the first day of ILA on Monday, August 21st. We will meet from 9am-noon.

There are other required books for ILA that you will need to acquire by the beginning of the semester. All texts are available through the campus bookstore.

  • The Glass Castle: a Memoir by Jeannette Walls
  • Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
  • Curious: The Desire to Know and Why Your Future Depends On It by Ian Leslie
  • The Bedford Handbook, 10th Edition
  • The ILA Reader, a course reader – ordering instructions are at this link, ILA Reader Info

How ILA Works

  • There are nineteen separate course sections of ILA. In early August, you will be placed in a specific section with a specific professor. Until then, you are temporarily enrolled in section #50. Look for an email announcement about your specific section around August 9th.
  • Although ILA is a common course required off all new students, and there are many shared elements across all sections such as readings and convocations, each professor’s section is unique and will contain variations in assignments and supplemental readings. When you are placed in a section with a specific professor, you can check with the bookstore to see if your section has additional texts that you will be required to purchase.
  • ILA meets for the first time on Monday, August 21st from 9am until noon. This Monday is the day before regular classes begin. After that first Monday, ILA meets regularly on all Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays throughout the semester from 11:00-11:50am.
  • The first Monday and all regular classes meet in your assigned classroom, which will be announced when you are enrolled in a specific section in August.
  • On the Thursdays throughout the semester, there will be special programs, such as Convocations and Mentoring Thursday sessions, that will often require that you go to a different location. These locations will be clearly announced during class.
  • For your first semester, your ILA Instructor is also your Advisor. However, Monmouth College’s approach to advising is to provide and help you build a network of support that consists of faculty, staff from offices and support services across campus, and your peers. You will be encouraged to make contacts with faculty and students in the academic departments where you are considering completing a major or a minor, and we have many programs in place to help you make those contacts.
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