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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 First-Year Experience course, 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 2019, you are asked to complete this assignment.

  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. Contact the Registrar if you did not receive a copy.
  2. As you complete the reading, consider the questions linked below and develop answers for them. 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 19th. We will meet from 9am-noon.

In addition to this summer reading, there are six 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.

  • Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt
  • So You Want to Talk about Race by Ijeoma Oluo
  • The Glass Castle: a Memoir by Jeannette Walls
  • Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
  • The Bedford Handbook: 10th Edition
  • The 2019 ILA Reader, a compilation of readings published specifically for ILA

How ILA Works

  • There will be twenty separate 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 about your specific section around August 5th. When you are placed in a section, go to the MC Bookstore online and see if additional texts are required.
  • For your first semester, your ILA professor 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.
  • There is no single correct way for ILA to happen. It is a course with many common components across all sections, but each professor structures the course slightly differently, and may present different approaches to the content, or different perspectives on the texts. However, there is an agreement among the professors to expect a common level of rigor and challenge across all sections. Each section is comprised of a different collection of students, so the discussions from section to section are inherently different. Celebrating differences and appreciating multiple perspectives is part of ILA, and a core value of Monmouth College. 
  • ILA meets for the first time on Monday, August 19th from 9am until noon. This Monday is not a regular class day, but ILA is such an important course that we connect it to Fall Orientation.
  • 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 in August when you are placed in a specific section with a specific professor.
  • On Thursdays during the semester, there will be special programs, such as Convocations, that will require that you go to a Dahl Chapel and Auditorium or other locations. Watch for announcements.