This model is both progressive and holistic: by offering students a step-by-step pathway to develop their academic voices, clarify their values, and develop projects with real-word significance, the Blueprint fosters students’ abilities to integrate their learning—across courses and disciplines and beyond academic boundaries.
The structure of the Blueprint is shaped by and supports the three foundational pillars outlined in our mission and vision statements: our Catholic, Franciscan tradition; the classical ideals of liberal arts education; and the principles of civic engagement and service learning.
The objective of the Blueprint is to provide students with individual and shared learning experiences that emphasize the following goals:
All incoming freshmen participate in the First-Year Experience, which consists of GS 101: Foundations Seminar and COM 151: Public Speaking. GS 101 is designed to get all students acquainted with the college, its resources, opportunities for involvement, and academic expectations. All first-year students also participate in the Hilbert Reads program and may have an opportunity to meet the author of the selected book.
In the spring semester, freshmen take COM 151: Public Speaking, where they continue to develop their oral communication skills and engage in civil, respectful discourse with their classmates.
In their sophomore year, students will take GS 201: Service Learning and Civic Engagement. This course, which builds on GS 101 and COM 151, provides students with an opportunity to explore one or more social concerns within the local community. Catholic social teaching principles and Hilbert’s Catholic, Franciscan heritage provide a framework for students to understand their own personal experiences and to develop a critical perspective on civics and justice. Knowledge gained through in-class activities, readings, and lectures is applied through participation in a service-learning experience with a community partner. This service-learning experience will help address the immediate needs of the community and develop a student’s sense of civic responsibility.
Three professors from different disciplines teach the Junior Symposium course, which builds on skills learned in the previous Blueprint classes. Students follow current events, using The New York Times as their text. Students engage in active debates and student-led discussions, which reinforce the importance of civil discourse and allow students to think about how current events impact their lives.
The Hilbert Blueprint culminates with the Senior Capstone. Unique to each department, the capstone could be – but is not limited to – a project, internship, or research paper. The Senior Capstone is designed to synthesize the student’s four-year educational experience and support the college’s mission to produce ‘informed citizens committed to serving and strengthening their communities.
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