Howard W. Hewitt — Those of us in the Public Affairs Office occasionally write about our infrequent visits into Wabash College classrooms. We talk about the interaction of professors and students, and remarkable dialogue that takes place across campus each day during the school year.
It’s a great experience that we don’t get to witness often enough. See a photo album from the Thursday class here.
Every freshman at Wabash College is required to take a ‘Freshman Tutorial.’ The topics cover the faculty’s every imaginable interest. From political cartoons, to historical figures, energy and resources, color, game playing, the Supreme Court, and many others.
The idea is to give freshmen a class where they learn to read critically, to write, study, and interact in a Wabash classroom.
I’d never visited a tutorial before this week. Professor Scott Himsel is leading a group of freshmen through “Founding Brothers and Revolutionary Characters.” The attached photo album offers a little bit more on some of the topics.
On Thursday four of the freshmen made presentations to the class on their research topics. They’ll write a paper — which is the final — based on their research.
But even more interesting were Himsel’s comments after the class about the progress you get to see in a Freshman Tutorial that you never see in other classes. The freshman year and especially the first semester is where the young men struggle in the initial weeks with the workload and expectations. Then over the course of the semester you come to see them start to grasp the academic challenge.
Then in the final days the young men emerge as engaged students, active classroom participants, and adding thoughts to each conversation that perhaps even the professor had not pondered.
It’s a remarkable process that goes on in the fall of each year. Sometimes I think it’s just a shame more people don’t get to see it.