Celebrating 25 years of the liberal arts: Symposium highlights high-impact experiences

Celebrating 25 years of the liberal arts: Symposium highlights high-impact experiences

In 1996, the Georgia Board of Regents designated Georgia College as the state’s public liberal arts university. We celebrate 25 years of this designation and showcase how the liberal arts come to life on campus today.

A liberal arts education teaches skills like critical thinking, learning to work in diverse groups, how to navigate ambiguity and how to communicate well both orally and in writing.

These and other skills developed through a liberal arts education are learned from experiences both inside and outside the classroom.  

Georgia College created the GC Journeys Program to connect the dots on how these skills not only help prepare students for their career, but help them understand that they will also use them rest of their lives.

“GC Journeys, with its focus on experiential learning and student engagement, really embodies Georgia College’s liberal arts mission,” said Associate Provost for Transformative Learning Experiences Jordan Cofer. 

The GC Journeys Program encourages students to take advantage of five inside- and outside-the-classroom transformative experiences during their time at Georgia College. The program includes the first-year experience, career planning milestones and the senior capstone course, which are all required. Each student can then personalize their experience by choosing to take part in at least two other options: study abroad, community-based engaged learning, undergraduate research, an internship or leadership programs. 

All these are designated as High-Impact Practices (HIPs) by the Association of American Colleges & Universities. A special event next week in honor of the 25th anniversary of the liberal arts designation will showcase how participation in HIPs makes a difference in students’ lives.

The GC Journeys Symposium will take place Friday, Oct. 29 from noon to 3 p.m. It is open to the entire campus community.  

“We wanted to do this as part of a series to have more engagement about celebrating our 25th anniversary,” said Cofer.

Typically, in the fall, the Undergraduate Research Symposium is held—only highlighting one piece of GC Journeys. But the committee who organized it decided to expand it for this year.  

“We changed it to the GC Journey’s Symposium because we are all part of it,” said Dr. Doreen Sams, professor of marketing and faculty coordinator of MURACE (Mentored Undergraduate Research and Creative Endeavors).

“During the 25th year of the liberal arts, I felt that we should celebrate all of the High-Impact Practices and not just MURACE,” Sams said. “I suggested it, and everyone on the team loved the idea.” 

Sessions include a panel discussion from undergraduate summer research fund recipients, breakouts on how to develop High-Impact Practices and information on the new Vertical Integration Project (VIP) that will begin next spring.  

“Participants will also hear from a prestigious panel: Cole Woodcox, director of COPLAC; Debra Humphreys, author and vice president of Lumina Foundation; and faculty representatives from across campus who are connecting the past and looking to the future as a liberal arts institution,” said Sams.

The GC Journeys Symposium will be held on the virtual platform GatherTown and will be more interactive than a typical Webex or Zoom meeting.  

“As we approach our 25th anniversary, I think it’s more important now more than ever to keep exploring ways to foreground the importance of the liberal arts and it’s contributions to the public good,” Cofer said.

This is the first in a series of events celebrating the 25th anniversary of the liberal arts designation. You can register at this link.

The first 25 to register will receive a complimentary copy of the book “Learning That Matters,” which provides research-informed approaches for creating learning experiences and developing innovative, intellectually engaging courses. 

Other events include:

John H. Lounsbury College of Education-November 9, 2021
The Value of Liberal Arts in Preparing Teachers & Leaders as Architects of Change

College of Health Sciences - January 27, 2022
25 Years of Liberal Arts in the Health Sciences

John E. Sallstrom Honors College – February 16, 2022
Honors and the Liberal Arts

J. Whitney Bunting College of Business- March 10, 2022
Business Education and the Public Liberal Arts: COPLAC Faculty Perspective

J. Whitney Bunting College of Business- March 22, 2022
Georgia College Executives Forum: Business Education for the Public Good 

J. Whitney Bunting College of Business- March 23, 2022
Milledgeville-Baldwin County Chamber of Commerce Eggs & Issues: The Liberal Arts Means Business.

University Library – April 4-May 4, 2022
An Exhibit Honoring the 25th Anniversary of GC’s Liberal Arts Mission

College of Arts and Sciences- April 6, 2022
Celebrating the College of Arts and Sciences: The Heart of the Liberal Arts at Georgia College

Office of the Provost – April 6, 2022
Provost Summer 2021 Research Fellows Panel

More details will be announced as the dates get closer.