Colloquium def. An academic meeting
at which one or more specialists deliver addresses on a topic or on related
topics and then answer questions. (Webster's Dictionary)
Cook’s Junior/Senior colloquium requirement was developed as part of the college-wide curricular revisions that were approved by the faculty in 1992. The original impetus for the requirement came in part from students who felt, particulary based on their experience with the first-year “Perspectives” course, that an inter-disciplinary course experience at the end of their undergraduate program would be especially valuable. At the same time, employers were noting that our graduates tended to be weak in skills associated with working in teams to deal with complex problems. From these concerns emerged the idea of an upper-level course requirement that would incorporate group learning in a multi-disciplinary setting.
A Junior/Senior Colloquium is thus designed to be an integrative educational experience for students concluding their undergraduate studies (i.e., seniors and second-semester juniors). A colloquium should enable students from diverse academic backgrounds to work cooperatively on well-defined problems in Cook’s mission areas. Each student is expected to synthesize the information and techniques learned in his or her previous courses and to apply this knowledge to the specific problem being examined by the colloquium. In this process of working cooperatively with peers who have majored in different curricular areas and thus have different capabilities and interests, it is expected that students will gain greater appreciation for the importance of inter-disciplinary approaches to understanding complex problems facing society, and that they will enhance their problem-solving skills in dealing with them.
General Guidelines for Colloquia