campus news and events

Colby-Sawyer College Curricular Conversion Expands Time and Opportunity for Engaged Learning

The Board of Trustees of Colby-Sawyer College has approved a new curriculum structure for its undergraduate academic degree program.

Starting with the fall 2014 semester, Colby-Sawyer will change from a predominantly three-credit per course model to a predominantly four-credit per course model with an increase in both class time and out-of-class work time.

The change is intended to better foster engaged learning as well as offer more flexibility for study abroad options and transfer students.

“The old model of education-as-information-delivery is outdated,” said Academic Vice President and Dean of Faculty Deborah Taylor. “Why? Information is everywhere. At first blush, facts are indistinguishable from fictions. Today, more than ever, a person must be able to analyze, understand, evaluate and apply information in order to be truly educated, and must be able to create new information for a rapidly advancing future. Learning to do that takes time – for projects, group work and study, and individual mentoring – and carefully structured learning experiences.”

Students will take four courses instead of five, and faculty will teach three courses instead of four per semester.

“The curriculum conversion is the successful result of incredible work by our faculty and academic affairs staff,” said President Thomas C. Galligan Jr. “It will allow faculty and students the time to focus more on the subjects they study, to engage in deeper inquiry, and to work collaboratively as they will throughout their careers. And, the new curricular conversion and other recent innovations will make it much easier, attractive and cost effective to transfer to Colby-Sawyer.”

The foundation of Colby-Sawyer's liberal arts-based education will be a theme-based, multi-disciplinary and writing-intensive First Year Symposium fostering student inquiry and discussion. The symposium replaces the current two-course Pathway experience taken in the first and fourth semesters.

In the new curriculum, students will take an Integrative Studies course by their junior year that blends the perspectives of several disciplines and relies upon students' exploration across the curriculum.

Providing students with more flexibility was a top priority while restructuring the academic program. “We've designed the new curriculum with at least one or two opportunities for study abroad built into the sequence of course offerings,” said Vice President Taylor. “We also designed the curriculum to allow transfer students to complete our programs on time.”

Students will benefit from an increased ability to double major, complete the Wesson Honors Program requirements, accommodate a minor, and have additional opportunities for internships.

“We are proud of our ability to accomplish this important work over a relatively short period of time,” said President Galligan. “It is a tribute to our ability to be flexible and innovative.”

Colby-Sawyer College is a comprehensive college that integrates the liberal arts and sciences with professional preparation. Founded in 1837, Colby-Sawyer is located in the scenic Lake Sunapee Region of central New Hampshire. Learn more about the college's vibrant teaching and learning community at

Colby-Sawyer College, 541 Main Street, New London, N.H. 03257 (603) 526-3000