The Rollins Plan: Engaged and Integrative Learning

Global Challenges: Florida and Beyond, and Revolution

Eighty members of the Class of 2013 are wrapping up their first semester of courses in the Rollins Plan, the College’s pioneering faculty-driven renewal of the general education curriculum.  Green Art class

The Rollins Plan pilot is a series of seven developmental courses built around an interesting intellectual question and is an alternative method for satisfying general education requirements. The Rollins Plan follows the tradition of curricular innovation that Rollins has been recognized for throughout its 125-year history. The goals of the Rollins Plan are for students to develop critical thinking and problem-solving, as well as integrate learning experiences from across disciplines. Rollins Plan courses engage students in applied learning both in and outside of the classroom, and empower students with knowledge and skills that cut across traditional disciplinary boundaries.

 “With the current distribution approach to the general education curriculum, students are filling their plate with a little bit of this and a little bit of that from the buffet,” said Professor of Mathematics Mark Anderson, who was instrumental in the development of the Rollins Plan and will be teaching a Revolution course about the number zero. “The Rollins Plan is more like going to a restaurant where you’re served a complete meal with all of the flavors complementing each other.” 

artThe Rollins Plan offers students greater flexibility to explore ideas through their majors, electives and developmental general education courses.

“The goal of the Rollins Plan is to encourage students to think about general education curriculum as an integrated whole rather than a collection of unrelated courses,” said Associate Dean of the Faculty and Professor of Political Science Donald Davison. Students are encouraged to participate in study-abroad, internships and community-engagement experiences, as well as co-curricular programs, resulting in a seamless integrated learning experience.

The first-year students accepted into the Rollins Plan pilot are taking spring courses in either Global Challenges: Florida and Beyond or Revolution. Courses include: Green Art in the Community, Visions of Paradise, Global Competition American Dream and Revolution: Violent & Non-Violent.

Jaz“I’ve loved the first Rollins Plan course, Revolution: Violent & Non-Violent,” said Jaz Zepatos (Class of 2013).  “It is nice to be in a class where you know everyone wants to be there and is passionate about the topic at hand.  It makes you care more about what you are learning.”

“The professors are great, too; Drs. Cook and Smaw know just what to do to inspire heated debates in class,” she continued. “I am looking forward to our upcoming community engagement project in which we will interview those personally affected by Revolutions in our own families.  This class has made history more personal, and matter more to me than any class has before.”

Anna Montoya (Class of 2013) is part of the Global Challenges: Florida and Beyond Rollins Plan. “This spring, my service-learning courses allowed me to integrate key concepts by learning similar ideas and themes, connecting them to my overall understanding of community, environment and responsibility,” she said. “This semester in my Green Art in the Community course, my peers and I were introduced to concepts such as biophilia, the aquifer, and urban sprawl. We learned that urban areas all over the world are spreading outwards across the land and into previously untouched rural areas. This detrimental form of expansion damages the land, air and water quality of these regions. However, Florida stands at the forefront of a movement known as smart growth, which creates a balance between financial viability, livability and environmental sensitivity.”

Rollins Plan courses scheduled for Fall 2010 include: Wild Florida, Global Competition and the American Dream, Individualism and Discontents, American Rebel Identity and Revolutions in Science. 

The Rollins Plan pilot continues until the 2012-13 academic year with Global Challenges and Revolution each concluding with a capstone course.  On-going updates and evaluation results are being presented to Arts & Sciences faculty during the pilot period.  Faculty will vote on whether to adopt the Rollins Plan as the full general education curriculum in Fall 2011.

Read more about Montoya’s experience as part of the Global Challenges: Florida and Beyond RP Green Art course, click here.