Living the Liberal Arts Working Group - Strategic Planning Skip Navigation

Working Group on Living the Liberal Arts

This working group explored current residential liberal arts education programs and considered new ways to build an enriching intellectual community both inside and outside the classroom.


Members split into two groups to evaluate the issues at hand as closely as possible. Click each group below to see its membership.
Diversity, personal growth and wellness, accountability, and lifelong connections
  • Co-chairSpencer Kelly, Associate Professor of Psychology; Chair of the Psychology Department; former Chair of Neuroscience Program
  • Co-chairSuzy Nelson, Vice President and Dean of the College
  • Recorder: Sue Smith, Associate Dean of the College
  • Ryan Baker, Head Volleyball Coach, Athletics
  • Jamie Bergeron, Assistant Dean and Director of LGBTQ Initiatives; former Assistant Director of CLSI
  • Leroy Cody ’71, Board of Trustees Member
  • Regina Conti, SAB Representative, Associate Professor of Psychology
  • Thomas Cruz-Soto, Associate Dean for Multicultural Affairs
  • Andrea Finley ’13, Student Representative
  • Padma Kaimal, Professor of Art & Art History and Asian Studies
  • Joe Leo ’01, Alumni Representative
  • Viktor Mak ’15, Student Representative
  • Thad Mantaro, Director of the Shaw Wellness Institute
  • Michelle Moon ’13, Student Representative
  • Erin Murray ’13, Student Representative
  • Marilyn (Lyn) Rugg, Professor of Romance Languages and Literatures; University Harassment Officer; Staff Affirmative Action Officer
  • Kendall Smith ’02, Former Staff Counselor
  • Marvin Vilma ’14, Student Representative
  • Martin Wong, Associate Professor of Geology
Intellectual development and citizenship/service
  • Co-chair: Lesleigh Cushing, Associate Professor of Religion and Jewish Studies; Chair of Core 151
  • Co-chairConstance Harsh, Interim Provost and Dean of the Faculty
  • Recorder: Scott Brown, Associate Vice President and Dean of Students
  • Austin Collier ’15, Student Representative
  • David Dudrick, Associate Professor of Philosophy
  • Christopher (Chris) Henke, Associate Professor of Sociology; Chair of the Sociology and Anthropology Department
  • Brenda Ice, Director of Residential Life
  • Beverly Low, Associate Dean/Admin Advising/Dean of First-Year Students
  • Damhnait McHugh, Professor of Biology; Director of the Harvey M. Picker Interdisciplinary Science Institute
  • Jacob Mundy, Assistant Professor of Peace and Conflict Studies
  • John Palmer, Associate Professor of Educational Studies; Chair of the Educational Studies Department
  • Vijay Ramachandran, Assistant Professor of Computer Science
  • Krista Saleet, Director of Max Shacknai COVE
  • Michael Sciola, Associate Vice President for Advancement and Director of Career Services
  • Kim Taylor, Associate Dean for Conduct

View Report

Working group on living the liberal arts draft report, March 21, 2013 (Colgate e-mail login required)

Next Steps

To further develop the recommendations and timeline for implementing the 2013 Living the Liberal Arts Report, the Dean of the Faculty and Dean of the College (DOC) will work with the relevant campus governing committees, faculty, and DOC colleagues on areas including holistic advising, an academic/social honor code, and a residential study consistent with Campus Master Planning.

Students studying together on the Academic Quad at Colgate University


Historically, Colgate has had a leading residential education program. In 2003, the university adopted A New Vision for Residential Education and embraced several innovative programs: a first-year experience that highlighted a smooth academic transition to college; a sophomore experience that emphasized civic engagement, cultural appreciation, and outdoor education; and a Broad Street Community Program that aligned the junior- and senior-year experience more closely to the goals of community building and citizenship.

While we have accomplished much in the intervening years, the Living the Liberal Arts strategic planning working group was convened to reevaluate these programs and to consider other ways in which we connect living and classroom learning more closely together.

In the first phase of planning, we identified principles that guide the out-of-class experience: intellectualism, personal development and wellness, civic engagement, access and inclusion, social responsibility, and a lifelong connection to Colgate.

Original Charge to the Committee

A residential liberal arts education is the hallmark of the Colgate experience, where meaningful connections between classroom and communal living further intellectual curiosity, personal growth, and professional exploration. Six principles amplify how we aim to live the liberal arts:
  1. Intellectual development
  2. Citizenship, leadership, and service
  3. Diversity, access, and inclusion
  4. Personal growth, health, and wellness
  5. Personal accountability
  6. Lifelong connections
This working group was tasked with reevaluating current programs and considering new ways to build an enriching intellectual community within the context of these framing principles. This group further examined the questions.

Questions for consideration by the working group
  1. Intellectual development. What residential living-learning programs can provide intellectual community? How can specialized programs (e.g., Alumni Memorial Scholars, Benton Scholars) be enhanced for participants and utilized by the wider Colgate community?
  2. Citizenship, leadership, and service. How might civic engagement more directly enhance the intellectual climate? How might students explore a range of public service and public-interest career opportunities? What is the potential for enhanced coordination/connection between the COVE, the Upstate Institute, and curricular offerings?
  3. Diversity, access, and inclusion. How does a Colgate experience deepen one’s capacity for human understanding both inside and outside of the classroom? How do we bolster students’ exploration of cultures and perspectives as a means of enriching one’s life? How might residential arrangements further diversity and inclusion efforts?
  4. Personal growth, health, and wellness. How is one’s holistic development supported through experiential learning opportunities and residential living? What types of opportunities will further students’ artistic, spiritual, and recreational development? How does the campus community promote health, wellness, and low-risk behavior?
  5. Personal accountability. How do students embrace community standards and hold themselves and others accountable? How do we promote self-governance? How can the University Honor Code further expectations that students will hold each other accountable to the tenets of the Honor Code?
  6. Lifelong connections. What meaningful traditions and celebrations further students’ affinity for their residential community and, more broadly, Colgate? How do we promote opportunities for positive mentoring within and beyond Colgate’s campus? How do we get students to recognize and support athletics?