The Conversation programs at St. Olaf are designed to spark interdisciplinary exploration. Drawing faculty from multiple departments, these programs follow ideas, eras, areas of the world or emerging issues across traditional academic boundaries. Each program attracts students and faculty who share a passion for the subject and the commitment to exploring it with rigor. Students selected to participate in these programs join small learning communities characterized by active inquiry, informed deliberation, and insatiable curiosity. While not required, they are a great way to explore your passions. Below are the two first year conversations. We hope you will apply!
The Great Conversation — the first of the Conversations programs — is an integrated sequence of five courses that begins at the start of the first year. Students sharpen their own process of critical thinking by delving into the great books and works of art of some of the worlds most influential thinkers and artists such as Plato, Dante, Darwin, Virginia Woolf, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Picasso. Learn more here.
American Conversations takes students on an interdisciplinary exploration of America, addressing such questions as what, exactly, are American values? How do we define freedom and justice for all? What is the American dream? And ultimately: What makes America America? Learn more here.
To apply, check your applicant status page. The application will be on the right side of your applicant status page.