General Education at Illinois Wesleyan University strives to provide a foundation for a liberal education of quality and breadth through a continuously evolving program which fosters intellectual independence, critical thinking, imagination, social awareness, and sensitivity to others. These qualities of mind and character are developed through a coordinated academic and co-curricular program of active learning, problem solving, collaborative inquiry, and community involvement. In this environment, students pursue a course of study which leads to knowledge of the natural universe and the diverse realms of human experience.
Gateway Colloquia are small, discussion-oriented classes designed to develop students' proficiency in writing academic and public discourse. Although each colloquium investigates its own issue or question, all focus on writing as a major component of intellectual inquiry. Students are expected to participate in discussion and to analyze, integrate and evaluate competing ideas so as to formulate their own arguments about an issue. Topics will vary by section. Students must complete a Gateway Colloquium by the end of the freshman year. Students who fail Gateway will be enrolled in another section of the course at the earlier opportunity.
In keeping with the overall goals of the General Education program, in particular the goals of developing students' proficiency in writing and its use as a means of discovery and understanding, and of developing students' capacities in critical thinking, independence, and imagination through active learning, Gateway Colloquium seminars seek to:
- introduce students to the process of intellectual inquiry and develop students' critical thinking skills
- develop students' ability to evaluate competing ideas and experiences
- develop students' skills in the conventions and structures of presenting knowledge in written academic and public discourse, and on strategies for effective revision
- engage students in learning activities that prepare them for academic life in the university