Program Overview

Willamette’s College Colloquium provides you with a unique opportunity to pursue your intellectual passions from the first moment you arrive on campus. The course will be the academic centerpiece of your first semester at Willamette University.

The word “colloquium” is derived from the Latin “colloquium,” meaning “to talk together.” The word conveys a conversation that is both structured and informal, a meeting of minds that is both serious and spirited. This is not a course in which somebody lectures and you listen. It is a course in which you participate actively in the discussion of questions that you feel are important.

Central to the colloquium is the idea of intellectual freedom — your freedom to pick a topic that mirrors your interests and to pursue questions that fire your imagination. Faculty from every department and program across the campus teach in the College Colloquium: Music and Physics no less than History and Philosophy. In choosing your colloquium you will be taking an important first step in creating your intellectual journey at Willamette.

That journey begins, crucially, in a small classroom setting. Enrollment in each colloquium course is limited to fourteen students because a small class (1) helps to develop a culture of active participation, (2) enables the instructor to give close and careful attention to student writing, and (3) promotes a close and meaningful relationship between student and professor.

The professor teaching your colloquium will be your academic advisor, at least until you declare a major. When you select your colloquium, therefore, you will also be selecting the person who will help you to plan your course work in your first year or two at Willamette. The colloquium will end after the first semester, but your close relationship with your advisor — and your classmates — will continue long after the course is over.