Olivet College recently completed a comprehensive review of its educational philosophy and programs. The goal of this review was to ensure that students acquire the skills needed to succeed in a changing world, both in a professional career and in life. This review resulted in the development of The Olivet Plan, an educational philosophy focusing on individual and social responsibility, character as well as competence and service as well as career. The distinctive vision of Olivet College is to provide an Education for Individual and Social Responsibility.
The Olivet Plan gives students the skills essential for success in a highly competitive marketplace and teaches lessons in character and responsibility. It provides solid goal orientation, interpersonal and small group skills, critical thinking skills, global awareness, diversity sensitivity, and an ethic of responsibility for oneself and for others. Some highlights of the unique educational philosophy are described below.
Students develop a personal portfolio demonstrating their abilities in academic and co-curricular activities. Portfolios include such items as papers and writing samples, projects, created objects or recorded performances. The portfolio provides a mechanism for students to document their skills in the five key groups of educational outcomes÷communicating, reasoning, working together, individual responsibility and social responsibility.
A sequence of specially designed general education courses provide common learning and shared experiences for all students. These courses enable students to build their skills across the full range of important educational outcomes.
Each Olivet student completes a semester long Service Learning course that includes community service and guided reflection on that service. The experience of working with others to strengthen a community in need is a powerful way to learn about the value and rewards of service to others and to deepen one's sense of individual and social responsibility.
Learning Communities consist of groups of students enrolling concurrently in two or three different but thematically linked courses. Here students explore important themes and issues (e.g. the environment) with each other and with the help of guest experts.
All students complete an academic major concentrated study providing a depth of knowledge in one field. Most students develop close mentoring relationships with faculty in their major area of study.
Senior Year Experience
The Senior Year Experience includes a capstone course, culminating in an independent project; the Senior Portfolio; and senior courses, proposed and initiated by the students themselves. During this final year, students refine their skills for graduate school or the work force.
The Olivet Plan
Celebrating the bonds of human similarity and the wealth of human diversity are themes that run through all elements of The Olivet Plan. Olivet College actively seeks and welcomes students from diverse backgrounds to join the campus community.
Olivet College has an innovative calendar. Most classes meet twice each week. Wednesdays are reserved for activities such as service learning, portfolio assessment, Lecture & Symposium events, and learning communities. The spring semester includes an Intensive Learning Term (ILT) where students may concentrate their attention on a single course of special interest in just over three weeks.
Olivet considers extracurricular activities including jobs, athletics, and campus and community activities as integral to, not apart from, each student's educational experience. We encourage and reward involvement in these activities because they provide rich opportunities for learning the same critical skills that are taught in the academic curriculum.