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First Year Colloquium

The first-year Colloquium is a required two-semester sequence of courses that takes a complex topic – for example, Dreams and Reality – and explores it with readings based in the humanities, arts, sciences, and social sciences. The courses build community in the Honors College while promoting high levels of academic achievement.

Classes in the Honors Colloquium are capped at 20 students per section. In this small seminar setting, faculty and students get to know each other well through lively discussions, one-on-one conversations, group projects, and extra-curricular excursions.

In the Colloquium, students push themselves to become stronger critical thinkers. They weigh and consider multiple points of view; they develop thoughtful, well-supported perspectives on important issues of our times; and they defend their ideas in public presentations.

Colloquium is enriched with visits to UW’s Theatre and Dance department, Art Museum, Archives, and Library, and with service projects carried out around Laramie. Expert faculty from various departments give specialized lectures on relevant topics. Distinguished visiting scholars and writers meet with students to discuss their work. In all these ways, Colloquium teaches students to take advantage of the rich resources we are privileged to have at UW.

Because the big problems of the world demand flexible thinking, the assignments in Colloquium ask students to approach problems from multiple angles. Assignments include close textual analyses, artistic representations of selected readings, interdisciplinary team work on grand challenges, archival research into unexpected western histories, and “This I Believe” statements featuring well-defended assertions of personal belief.

GOALS OF THE COURSE

  1. To introduce students to the Honors community of dedicated faculty and high-achieving fellow students.
  2. To introduce students to stimulating texts written by a diverse group of authors representing multiple disciplines.
  3. To introduce students to the kind of informed, respectful, intellectually engaging discussions that characterize the Honors College.
  4. To introduce students to a range of challenging assignments, including Library and archival research, creative work, and digital presentations.
  5. To introduce students to resources across campus and in Laramie.

UNIVERSITY REQUIREMENTS SATISFIED BY COLLOQUIUM

UW’s University Studies Program (USP) sets out requirements in numerous areas of the curriculum, including a sequence of courses in written, oral, and digital communications (COM courses), and a course in human culture (H courses). 

The first semester of Colloquium, Honors 1020, satisfies UW’s COM1 requirement. Students who have already fulfilled their COM1 take the Colloquium as Honors 1151, which satisfies UW’s H requirement.

The second semester of Colloquium, Honors 2020, satisfies UW’s COM 2 requirement.

 

 

My Colloquium Experience, by Jess Fahlsing

This is my last semester of undergrad, which is so sad to me because I’m going to have to leave the Honors College soon.  Honors really is what made my college experience at UW the vibrant, full, wonderful journey that it has been.  The classes I took have offered a wide array of experiences, questions, curiosities, and ways of study.  Through Honors, I’ve taken a creative writing class that made me think about Wyoming and myself in a completely different way.  I went on a road trip class over one of the summers, and through that I met the person who later became my roommate.  We also saw a grizzly bear.  I have taken a few study abroad courses—which, the first time I went abroad was actually with Peter Parolin to study Shakespeare in England and Italy, and I would highly recommend that experience.  For a variety of reasons, I consider Honors to be a home.  And it was a journey that all started with Honors Colloquium, though to be honest, when I took the class myself, the texts and curriculum were a bit less interesting.  I am jealous of first year students now. Though, I am also lucky to be a Mentor for Honors, which gives me the chance to talk with first-year students and prospective students about classes, life, and how to balance academic commitments with personal wellness.  It gives me the chance to be engaged with the new design of Colloquium on a closer level, which is especially exciting.  We are reading texts from a diverse range of disciplines, perspectives, and backgrounds.  The texts have encouraged me to reflect upon my life, ideas, values, and the perspectives that I carry.  The redesigned version of Colloquium has challenged me to learn in new ways and to consider lives different from my own.  It is challenging but always keeps me on my toes.  And, I’ve found another community with my fellow Honors mentors—many of whom I consider to be especially wonderful friends and colleagues.

I am glad to see that Colloquium gets students out and exploring across campus and many options and areas of study, as well as resources.  This is invaluable when so many first-year students change their majors, or even later in life when someone might decide to change their path.  Trips to the American Heritage Center and UW Art Museum, and field trips, plus a chance to present work in a conference-like setup towards the end of the semester.  There are almost no limitations on the opportunities that will be available to you through the college, which will begin in colloquium.  It will begin in the community that you can find in your peers, as you will have a year-long journey with each other.  You will have a chance to build community with your professors.  A community like this not only provides support when you’re away from home for the first time, but it also builds incredible connections.  For example, after I went on a conference with Honors to Boston, which was an opportunity I was lucky to have in large part because of my mentorship position, I became closer with Ann Stebner Steele, who invited me to be a Learning Assistant for her Colloquium class this semester.  I am learning so much about pedagogy, teaching, and interdisciplinary exploration.  Honors has also been the perfect pairing of a challenging academic environment and one that encourages service.  Honors is a place where you will find leadership opportunities, and a real way to make a difference in your life and the lives of those around you.  Honors also allows you the flexibility to create what you wish to have out of your experience at UW and with your degree.  It can bolster what you are currently studying, give you an avenue to investigate different fields, and in many ways, it will be what you make of it.

Honors also is not an experience that follows dull, rigid guidelines.  I would define myself as an unusual student, who not only took a year off of school to figure out what exactly it was that I wanted out of life, but who is now back and tackling the world with the skills to face my challenges in meaningful, adventurous, rewarding ways. Skills that Honors helped me build.  I have not walked a straight path in life, and I never plan to do so.  The Honors College supported this in every way possible.  It’s full of life, diversity, love, and support.  I don’t know what could be better.

Like I’ve said, UW’s Honors College has made my education.  Your professors care so much about you, and in my own life that has been huge for me.  Honors gave me community when I was struggling to figure out how I fit in to the University at large.  We have outstanding faculty and staff.  The professor I took my first semester of Colloquium with is now a close friend.  Dr. Abraham has equally challenged me and supported me.  My second semester of Colloquium, with the lovely Nina McConigley, was the connection which led me to a national news publication a few years later.  Subsequently, that publication has opened the doors to all of the activism I do and my impact in Laramie.  In recognition of Impact Days itself, Honors and Colloquium does have a lot of impact.  I stand here today nearing five years after taking my first class in Honors, and after having taken many more Honors classes than I actually need, and I know that no matter where I stand in the future, it will never be without the support of the friends and mentors that I have made through the College.  It was a journey that started in Colloquium, and I hope that it is a journey many of you will come to find joy in, as well.

Contact Us

The Honors College

Guthrie House

1200 Ivinson St.

Laramie, WY 82070

Phone: 307-766-4110

Fax: 307-766-4298

Email: honors@uwyo.edu

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