Academia is a setting where students can learn to think critically. Pursuing a college education should encourage us to develop our own ideas, and give us a forum in which to back them up through challenging discussions on a consistent basis.
At Shimer, our entire education model is built on student participation. The free exchange of ideas is fundamental to our philosophy - from small, discussion-based classroom settings to our self-governing body comprised of Shimer students and faculty. We believe that each voice should be heard, and work hard to create spaces that encourage expression, dialogue and discovery.
Read on to learn more about how Shimer puts students first, in the classroom and beyond.
The Shimer College Assembly: Collective Decisions for our Community
The Assembly meets regularly to discuss and make decisions on matters that affect all aspects of life at Shimer. The advantage of small liberal arts colleges is that their size allows for a democratic setting where everyone’s voice is able to be heard.
We remain small on purpose, so that every member of Shimer College gets the chance to participate as an individual – and can vote on issues that will impact their academic experience and the future of the college. Typically, the Assembly meets at least once per semester so students can weigh-in on a range of topics, including:
- Student and faculty quality of life
- Academic planning
- The admissions process
- Marketing efforts
Participating in the community through the Assembly allows students to develop a sense of shared accountability. Learning how to form and uphold opinions where autonomy is encouraged not only enriches the college experience; it promotes a sense of self-rule that prepares us for any discussions or debates we may face throughout life.
Small Classes Focused on Student-Driven Dialogue
The principle that the whole is the sum of its parts permeates the entire academic experience at Shimer. Our classes consist of no more than 12 students per class, where professors act mainly as facilitators who encourage discussion, debate and the evolution of thought. There are no lectures, which means everyone participates in open dialogue, and all opinions are respected.
Shimer is a great books college, which means there are no textbooks. Our curriculum is designed to put you directly in touch with great thinkers through their original works. Appreciating and engaging with the original texts in the subjects of Natural Science, Humanities, Philosophy and Social Sciences offers an academic experience that is anything but watered-down. We ask questions about these texts, build on theories, and disagree by learning to formulate logical, valid arguments.
At Shimer, not only do we want you to develop critical thinking, writing, interpretation and debate skills, we want you to be able to use these skills wherever you go after, may that be graduate school, or a career.
Does the fascinating Shimer model make you want to attend liberal arts college in Chicago?