In their first year at college, students build connections to academic and residential communities, identify intellectual interests, and encounter faculty expectations for excellence. The First-Year Experience program provides curricular and cocurricular opportunities that facilitate entering students’ successful integration into the Skidmore College community. Through New Student Orientation, Scribner Seminars, and other Campus Life and Residential programming, students learn to balance freedom with responsibility, solve problems, and develop strategies for academic achievement.
Interdisciplinary Study-Scribner Seminars: A distinctive feature of intellectual activity at Skidmore is the college’s attention to interdisciplinary learning. The ability to integrate ideas from several different disciplines lends coherence to a student’s entire college education and may be applied to many areas of life. Scribner Seminars, the centerpiece of the First-Year Experience, constitute a significant interdisciplinary component of the curriculum. (See course descriptions for titles of Scribner Seminars.) Scribner Seminars, each limited to a small group of first-year students, invite participants to work closely with faculty and peers; help students identify and fulfill their academic aspirations; introduce them to new ways of thinking; and provide opportunities to work both collaboratively and independently. The seminars reflect the academic interests and intellectual passions of the faculty instructors, inviting first-year students to take intellectual risks, and challenging their notions about inquiry and knowledge. (See Interdisciplinary Courses for additional opportunities to pursue interdisciplinary learning.)
As the foundation of their college experience, Skidmore students strengthen their writing proficiency and demonstrate competence in quantitative reasoning. The ability to read critically, to write clearly and precisely, and to reason quantitatively lies at the heart of a liberal arts education. Skidmore students thus exercise, during their first years of study, the indispensable tools of intellectual discourse and discovery.
Expository Writing: Students are required to complete successfully one designated expository writing course by the end of the sophomore year. Students placed in EN 103 Writing Seminar I must complete this prerequisite course by the end of the first year. In some cases, students may be required to complete certain preparatory courses in their first semester, prior to enrolling in EN 103. Designated writing courses offered by the English Department and in various disciplines can be taken to fulfill the expository writing requirement. Skidmore’s writing program includes tutorial help at the Writing Center.
Quantitative Reasoning: Quantitative skills are not only promoted through a wide range of mathematics, computer, economics, and statistics courses, but also are reinforced by peer and professional support services directed by the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science. All students will demonstrate competence in basic mathematical and computational principles by the end of the sophomore year. This may be demonstrated by attaining a 630 or higher on the Old MSAT I exam (taken January 2016 or earlier), a 650 or higher on the New MSAT I (taken March 2016 or later), a 570 or higher on any mathematics SAT II exam, an ACT math score of 28 or higher, by passing Skidmore’s quantitative reasoning examination, or by successfully completing MA 100 Quantitative Reasoning. By the end of the junior year, all students must successfully complete a designated course in mathematics, statistics, or other numerical operations in various academic disciplines, or in the use of computers for the manipulation of mathematical, social-scientific, or scientific data.
The purpose of the breadth requirements is to ensure that students come to know and understand the central questions, content, and types of analysis that characterize the major knowledge domains of the liberal arts: the arts, humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences. Students who have completed these requirements should be able to identify, understand, and evaluate inquiry in each of these domains.
Students must successfully complete one course in each of the following four fields:
Arts: Students actively engage in the making or performing of artworks as modes of creative invention, interpretation, expression, and discovery. Through the critique and analysis of artworks, students develop a context for and an understanding of their own creative output as well as the creations of others. The fundamental student learning goals include the advancement of technical proficiency and the refinement of critical aesthetic sensibility. Courses in this category are typically, but not exclusively, offered in creative writing, dance performance, music performance, studio (visual) art, and theater performance.
Humanities: Students examine and reflect upon human culture as expressed in historical tradition, literature and languages, art and music, ideas, and beliefs. Students learn about diverse heritages, customs, and values that form patterns and analogies but not general laws. The humanities search for an understanding of the unique value of the particulars within human contexts and thereby create a climate that encourages freedom of thought, imagination, and inquiry. Courses in this category are typically, but not exclusively, offered in art history, classics, dance theory and history, literature (in English and in other languages), music theory and history, philosophy, religion, and theater theory and history.
Natural Sciences: Students actively engage in the process of understanding the natural world through the use of scientific methods. Students study phenomena that are the product of natural processes and are known through the senses rather than only through thought or intuition. Through the laboratory component of courses meeting this requirement, students will design and execute experiments (where appropriate as dictated by the discipline), collect data by observation and/or experimentation, and analyze data. Student learning goals thus include mastery of both content and process. Courses in this category are typically, but not exclusively, offered in biology, chemistry, exercise science, geosciences, physics, and psychology.
Social Sciences: Students study the organizational structure of human societies. They learn about the origins, functions, dynamics, and relations of large-scale social forces (such as institutions and cultures) and their intersections with the individual and small groups. In addition, students explore the connections between historical processes and contemporary social issues. Social scientific inquiry uses a combination of conventional scientific methods and humanistic, qualitative approaches. Courses in this category are typically, but not exclusively, offered in American studies, anthropology, economics, government, history, and sociology.
In culture-centered inquiry, students learn that culturally based perspectives and values are not universal, and in so doing enhance their ability to interact with persons from diverse cultural backgrounds. Students fulfill this requirement by completing one course in a foreign language and one course designated as either non-Western culture or cultural diversity study.
Foreign Literature and Language: Students expand their use of a foreign language or their understanding of the literature of that language by studying in its non-translated form. A student may choose a course (by placement) from the literature and language courses offered by the Department of Classics or the Department of World Languages and Literatures, excluding courses in translation.
Non-Western Culture: Students investigate a way of life and a set of cultural assumptions significantly different from Western perspectives. In these courses, students examine the social, political, literary, aesthetic, or linguistic arrangements of cultures.
Cultural Diversity Study: Students investigate the interaction of culturally distinct peoples within a given sociopolitical context. These courses may focus on diversity in the United States or on intercultural relations in other contexts. However, at least one of the groups examined will have non-Western origins.
The Major: Focus and Depth
The core curriculum described so far provides the foundation that students need in order to choose a major appropriate to their academic and career interests. This choice usually occurs during the second semester of the sophomore year, prior to registration for the junior year, allowing time for students to explore a variety of major and minor options. Skidmore offers the bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees in more than fifty areas, including traditional liberal arts disciplines, paraprofessional fields, interdepartmental combinations, and interdisciplinary programs. Qualified students may construct a self-determined major when their educational interests lie outside Skidmore’s established majors. All areas of concentration at Skidmore, including those most oriented toward careers and professions, thrive within a liberal arts and humanistic environment. Students electing two majors must plan course selections very carefully and should seek assistance from a faculty advisor as early as possible.
Periclean Honors Forum Curriculum
The Periclean Honors Forum offers a range of courses in a variety of disciplines at the 100, 200, and 300 levels. Designated Periclean honors courses (designated HF), including 1-credit add-ons and variable-credit independent studies, expect a high degree of involvement from participants, employ more sophisticated materials, pose more complex questions, and provide an unusually challenging academic experience.
The Periclean Honors Forum offers a supportive intellectual community for all highly motivated Skidmore students and especially encourages the academic aspirations of first-year and second-year students. Academic excellence, leadership, and citizenship are the core values of the “forum,” which, as the name suggests, organizes and promotes the common goals and interests of the entire academic community.
Internships for Academic Credit
Skidmore’s long experience in combining liberal arts education with career preparation has established strong connections between the life of the mind and the life of practicality and action. This twofold understanding of higher education is brought to focus through internships offered for academic credit.
Earning academic credit through an internship can be particularly rewarding to students as an application of their academic work to other life situations, as an exercise of their liberal arts skills and perspectives, and as a bridge between college and career. In recent years Skidmore students have earned valuable experience and academic credit in government agencies, retail and industrial organizations, publishing houses, banks, law firms, radio and television networks, and art, music, and theater organizations. Internship affiliations can be arranged by students themselves or in consultation with the Career Development Center, or be made available through alumni and friends of the college.
The Associate Dean of Faculty with responsibility for student academic affairs oversees internship credit guidelines and application criteria at Skidmore. An electronic library of internship opportunities is maintained by the Career Development Center. Once they have completed a first semester at Skidmore, qualified students may apply for internship experience, and academic credit, during any semester of the academic year, including the summer sessions. Students will be charged the regular application and tuition fees as for any other credit-bearing course taken during the academic year. During the summer when students are not in residence, reduced fees apply.
The course IN 100 A-D - Exploration Internship is available as an introductory experience to qualified students in any academic discipline. IN 100 applications are reviewed by the Associate Dean of the Faculty with responsibility for student academic affairs.
Many departments and programs at Skidmore offer internships at the 299 or 399 level. These opportunities are centered on a specific academic discipline, are offered at a more advanced level than IN 100, and often carry prerequisites. Grading may be on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory basis. Consult the course descriptions in the departmental listings for details.
A maximum of twelve semester hours of internship credit may be counted toward the student’s degree program. All 399 internships count toward the Skidmore “maturity” requirement, and 299 and 399 internships (but not IN 100) may count for “liberal arts” credit only as indicated in the Catalog under each departmental description of internships. Internship credit may count toward an academic major or minor if it is so indicated in the Catalog under each departmental and program description. Internship credits are offered on a graded (A-F) or Satisfactory-Unsatisfactory (S/U) basis as determined by the sponsoring department or program and indicated in the Catalog.
Scribner Seminar professors serve as faculty advisors and academic mentors to the first-year students enrolled in their seminars. Transfer students are assigned to a member of the faculty who serves as a student’s advisor. A student wishing to change his or her advisor may do so at any time by completing a written application available in the Office of Academic Advising. A student typically changes his or her advisor when declaring a major. All students are encouraged to consult their faculty advisors about course scheduling, the college’s general academic requirements, and the student’s particular field of interest. Students may seek further advice on these and other issues from the Office of Academic Advising. This office also handles questions about leaves of absence, academic standing, choice of major, internship credit, academic support resources and services, academic integrity, honors and prizes, student opportunity funds, graduate fellowships, and other academic opportunities or difficulties. Although faculty mentors and the Office of Academic Advising provide guidance, responsibility for course selection and timely fulfillment of degree requirements ultimately lies with the student.
The Lucy Scribner Library provides access to more than 400,000 books; 300,000 e-books; 72,000 electronic journals; 17,000 Blu-rays, DVDs, and CDs; and more than 300 online databases, plus journals and magazines, and streaming video and audio. In addition, the library houses the Skidmore College archives and collections of rare books.
If students need materials not available through Scribner Library, they have access to materials in the libraries of regional colleges through ConnectNY, and from academic and research library collections throughout the world, through Skidmore’s interlibrary loan arrangements.
The library is constantly expanding its electronic library. While students and faculty can use these resources on any of the workstations in the library, most of the resources can also be accessed from dorm rooms and offices, as well as from home during intersessions. In addition to the online catalog, Scribner Library provides access to major bibliographic databases and archives for all subject areas through its web pages.
The librarians, who are subject specialists, teach research techniques and are available for consultation about individual research at the reference desk and by appointment.
GIS Center for Interdisciplinary Research
The Skidmore GIS Center for Interdisciplinary Research, located on the second floor of the Lucy Scribner Library, provides students and faculty with the resources and expertise to incorporate GIS and related geospatial technology into course offerings and research across academic disciplines. The center serves the entire campus with a focus on working with maps, data, analysis, and visualization tools, as well as helping to inspire critical and spatial thinking when approaching problems, analyzing them, and considering potential solutions. For more information about the GIS Center, visit www.skidmore.edu/gis.
Information Technology is an active part of academic life at Skidmore. The IT department supports services that include access to the Internet, electronic mail, academic software, voice and data network infrastructure, printing, multimedia, academic technologies, and administrative information systems.
While Skidmore encourages computing across the curriculum-the use of computers in academic disciplines-IT makes information technologies accessible to all students. IT employs professional staff and student assistants to help students, faculty, and staff utilize computers more effectively. Additionally, IT provides online training resources, as well as workshops during the semester on a variety of topics, in addition to providing one-on-one consulting.
General-purpose computer areas are available in several locations across campus, including Scribner Library and Media Services. In addition to these computer areas, the college’s campus center, Case Center, is open 24 hours and provides computers for checking e-mail in the Burgess Café. All facilities are open to any interested students, faculty, and staff and include either Windows or Macintosh computers. Most of the public computer areas are equipped with high-quality laser printers.
The Media Services department, located in the Scribner Library, operates a media development lab that provides students, faculty, and staff access to advanced tools for digital media production. Resources include video- and still-image editing facilities, a sound editing suite, scanning capabilities, DVD recording equipment, and small- to large-format color printing. Some items, such as digital cameras and digital video cameras, are available for short-term loan.
For additional information about the Information Technology department, visit www.skidmore.edu/it/
Frances Young Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery
Opened in fall 2000 and named in honor of Frances Young Tang ‘61, the 39,000-square-foot museum-gallery is designed to facilitate cross-disciplinary communication through the visual arts. The experimental nature of the Tang’s programming integrates multiple media and a range of disciplines to explore common themes. The building houses a 120-seat interdisciplinary space; classrooms for lectures, events, and film screenings; flexible gallery space; a museum shop; and storage for Skidmore’s permanent collection.
John B. Moore Documentary Studies Collaborative
MDOCS is an interdisciplinary center presenting the stories of the human experience in documentary forms: old and new; visual, oral, and written; analog and digital. Providing resources for and fostering collaborations between Skidmore’s academic programs and documentary practitioners, MDOCS invites students, faculty, and staff to learn and use the documentary arts for critical inquiry, discovery, civic engagement, and exposition. MDOCS, on its own and in partnership with individuals and programs, offers classes in the principles of documentary and instruction in documentary filmmaking, audio storytelling, and exhibition, among other documentary forms.
Off-Campus Study & Exchanges
The Office of Off-Campus Study & Exchanges (OCSE) organizes a wide range of off-campus opportunities for academically qualified students who wish to enhance their on-campus educational experience. The office works closely with academic departments and programs to ensure coordination between programs at Skidmore and international and domestic off-campus study opportunities. The office also advises students on program choices and application procedures, helps orient students to the cultural and personal challenges they will encounter off campus, and helps reintegrate students into the life of the college when they return. The office manages Skidmore programs abroad in England, France, New Zealand, Spain, a variety of faculty-led travel seminars, and domestic programs such as the Skidmore Exchange with Spelman College. The office also provides support for an additional 120 Approved Programs abroad. Students must have a 2.750 minimum GPA and appropriate academic background, must be in good academic and social standing, and must have the endorsement of the college in order to participate in off-campus programs.
Other Off-Campus Programs
Visiting Student Programs at American Colleges
While students do the majority of their work at Skidmore, the college offers the opportunity to take a semester or full-year program at another school in the United States. Many colleges in the state of New York and in other states have visiting student programs, and students should write to the registrar of the college in which they are interested to get information about programs and deadline dates. Prospective visiting students not participating in an approved off-campus program should then apply for an official leave of absence through the Office of Academic Advising.
Hudson-Mohawk Association of Colleges and Universities
To extend and enrich their collective educational resources, Skidmore and the following institutions have participated in the Hudson-Mohawk Association of Colleges and Universities: Adirondack Community College, Albany College of Pharmacy, Albany Law School, Albany Medical College, College of Saint Rose, Empire State College, Excelsior College, Hudson Valley Community College, Maria College, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, the Sage Colleges, Schenectady County Community College, Siena College, the State University of New York College at Cobleskill, Union College, and the State University of New York at Albany. Students may choose individual courses at any of the member institutions through a cross-registration agreement by consulting the registrars at both institutions. To be eligible, students must have paid the full-time tuition charge at Skidmore and be taking at least half their full-time load on the Skidmore campus. [Note: Although the formal consortium is no longer active, most institutions still consider cross-registrations.]
Reserve Officer Training Corps
Skidmore students interested in participating in Reserve Officer Training Corps programs may do so through the Hudson-Mohawk consortium. With the permission of the Committee on Academic Standing, a limited amount of credit (typically 6 or fewer hours) may be counted toward the degree for academic courses taken in the ROTC program.
Students pursuing a ROTC program through cross-registration must plan their courses and their academic major with care due to the time requirements of the ROTC program and the commuting time (30 to 40 minutes) involved. Because of the scheduling requirements of some majors, full participation in a ROTC program may not be possible. Accepted candidates are advised to discuss their plans both with the ROTC program of interest and the Office of the Registrar at Skidmore before enrolling at Skidmore. All cross-registering students must provide their own transportation.
For information on ROTC programs and/or scholarships, interested students should contact the ROTC program of interest. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (Troy, NY 12181) has Air Force, Army, and Marine Corps programs. Siena College (Loudonville, NY 12211) has an Army ROTC office.
Higher Education Opportunity Program/Academic Opportunity Program
The Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) recruits and admits talented and motivated students from New York State who otherwise, owing to academic and financial circumstances, would be unable to attend Skidmore. The Academic Opportunity Program (AOP) recruits and admits students who are HEOP-like in their academic and economic profiles, yet are not eligible for support from the program because they reside in states other than New York or have income levels slightly above the HEOP economic eligibility guidelines. Holistic in their approach to student development, both programs provide a required summer session on campus for students about to begin their first year, and continued academic, financial, and counseling services. The Summer Academic Institute strengthens students’ academic and study skills and prepares them for an academically and personally successful college experience.
Office of Special Programs
Through creative thinking and collaborative planning in the liberal, visual, and performing arts, the Office of Special Programs enhances and expands the intellectual and cultural life of Skidmore College and the local region. The OSP is responsible for a rich and diverse array of programs, many cross-disciplinary in impact, that supplement the offerings of the traditional academic calendar and extend into the summer months. OSP offerings target many audiences and take many forms, including adult education, residencies, institutes, courses, and workshops.
Through the Office of Special Programs, Skidmore’s summer programs draw thousands of people of different ages and backgrounds to the campus for credit and noncredit courses, seminars, workshops, and other conferences, many of which incorporate the city’s cultural activities into their offerings. Full details on all the college’s summer program offerings can be found on the Summer at Skidmore website.
There are two five-week and one ten-week Summer Sessions at Skidmore. Students may register for up to eight semester hours in each session. Enrolling in summer classes enables students to take advantage of the small classes and the opportunities to concentrate on just one or two courses at a time; fulfill all-college, foundation level, and departmental requirements; and catch up or accelerate progress toward a degree. The Summer Sessions feature courses in the full range of the liberal and studio arts as well as special topics courses in a variety of disciplines. Skidmore’s Summer Sessions offer unique opportunities for specialized study. Students may also engage in independent study courses with faculty and take advantage of the many internship opportunities in the summer.
Pre-College Program in Liberal and Studio Arts for High School Students
The Skidmore Pre-College Program in Liberal and Studio Arts is a summer college experience for high school students to live and learn with other exceptional students from around the country and abroad. The college credit-bearing program is designed for highly motivated and talented students who share a common interest in exploring the academic and social aspects of campus life and preparing for college success. The courses open to high school students are foundation-level courses offered as part of Skidmore’s summer session for college students.
Summer Studio Art Program
The Summer Studio Art Program features a diverse array of courses and events that make for a dynamic and productive environment for creative artists. The program brings together art faculty, visiting artists, and students at all levels and with a wide range of interests. It aims to meet the needs of serious artists-beginners and experienced alike-eager to develop their skills and expand their creative horizons. To accomplish this, the program takes full advantage of the college’s exceptional studios, faculty, and the resources of the campus and the Saratoga Springs community.
New York State Summer Writers Institute
The New York State Writers Institute, sponsored by Skidmore and SUNY Albany, offers an annual summer program for writers. The four-week program features workshop courses in creative writing taught by an extraordinary staff of professional writers, including winners of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. The program may be taken for undergraduate credit or as a noncredit workshop.
This is a two-week residential institute for jazz musicians-including high school and college students, music educators, and professional musicians-focusing on theory, improvisation, jazz history, and digital recording. Master classes are taught by top jazz artists, and the program features an evening concert series that takes place in the Arthur Zankel Music Center. The program coincides with Freihofer’s Jazz Festival at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. This program may be taken for academic credit or as a noncredit workshop.
Led by SITI Company, an ensemble-based theater collective led by Obie Award-winning director Anne Bogart, Ellen Lauren and Leon Ingulsrud, this four-week training intensive is offered to actors, directors, designers, dancers, and choreographers. The program’s objective is to develop courageous theater artists who are able to integrate into their work new influences from many disciplines; emphasis is placed on international cultural exchange and collaboration. Training in the Suzuki Method of Acting, Bogart’s Viewpoints, and an interdisciplinary approach to composition are the features of the program that may be taken for undergraduate credit or as a non-credit workshop.