Cornerstone Seminars

First-year students take a sequence of foundational Cornerstone Seminars that develop students’ critical thinking skills and sharpen their ability to read and write critically, to formulate compelling questions suitable for intellectual inquiry, and to distinguish between critical argumentation, statements of opinion, and summary. All Cornerstone Seminars provide students with writing-intensive instruction within a disciplinary context. 

Students take a series of four Cornerstone Seminars, usually within the first year, including:

  • History
  • Literature
  • Philosophy
  • Religious Studies

Recent Cornerstone Seminars include:

  • Buddhist Art in Asia (Visual & Performing Art, History Cornerstone)
  • Island Living/Island Leaving (English)
  • American Nightmare/American Dream: Dystopic and Utopic American Literature (English)
  • History & Horror (History)
  • The Civil Rights Movement: From Jim Crow to Black Lives Matter (History)
  • What You Thought You Knew (Philosophy)
  • The Examined Life (Philosophy)
  • Power, Order, & Justice (Political Science, Philosophy Cornerstone)
  • Pilgrimage & Passage: Religion as “Sacred” Journey (Religious Studies)
  • What to Do With Suffering? (Religious Studies)

Foreign Language Study

In most cases, First-Year students also complete a year of foreign language study, experiencing the diversity of human culture. Foreign language study is an essential part of a well-rounded liberal arts education, strengthening students’ communication skills, deepening their scholarly ability, preparing them for study abroad and broadening their cultural horizons in a global age.

Foreign language study at Stonehill means more than simply developing language skills. It incorporates five essential dimensions:

  • Communication
  • Cultures
  • Connections
  • Comparisons
  • Communities