Five days before the start of the 2009-2010 academic year, the Beloit College faculty gathered to discuss the true value of a liberal arts education and the distinctive elements of the Beloit experience. The day marked the beginning of a concentrated, year-and-a-half curricular review that resulted in the finalization, on Dec. 8, 2010, of a new set of graduation requirements that retain the flexibility and rigor that has made a Beloit education so distinctive, while also stating a preference for action—for internships, capstone experiences, and intensive research. This focus on putting the lessons of the classroom into practice has always been a hallmark of a Beloit education, though it’s occasionally been an unstated one. The focus is now writ large—on everything from the college catalog to the center through which many internship, entrepreneurial, and career learning opportunities will run: the newly christened “Liberal Arts in Practice Center.”
Beginning in fall of 2011, more than 300 students enrolled in the college with the understanding that they must test their knowledge regularly and repeatedly. Whether abroad or on campus, in their major or outside it, they will intern, author, design, and do the sort of projects and work that will force them to apply their knowledge within their lives, in their communities, and in tangible ways that will energize their studies and illuminate their true potential post-graduation.
In the latest National Survey of Student Engagement (2011), Beloit students demonstrated they were heavily engaged in activities and experiences strongly correlated with academic success and with the mission and focus of Beloit College.
50% of Beloit seniors reported studying abroad during college compared to 38% of seniors attending Carnegie peer schools.
Research with Faculty:
43% of Beloit seniors reported working with faculty on research projects outside of course requirements compared to 33% of seniors at Carnegie peer schools.
Culminating Senior Experiences:
73% of Beloit seniors reported participating in senior capstones, theses, and other senior projects compared to 58% of seniors at Carnegie peer schools.
Independent Study and Self-Designed Majors:
42% of Beloit seniors reported participating in an independent study or self-designed major while at Beloit compared to 31% of seniors at Carnegie peer schools.
36% of Beloit seniors say Beloit “very much” encourages contact among students from different economic, social, and racial or ethnic backgrounds compared to 25% of seniors attending Carnegie peer institutions.