Informal Curriculum Series

Students in Clayes clapping at a staged reading of Angels in America

Each semester...

...a stimulating lineup of live performances, films, interactive workshops, and talks by Saint Mary’s faculty, visiting scholars, and guest artists enriches the Seminar experience.

 

Informal Curriculum programs are designed to deepen the encounter with texts from a wide range of eras and cultures. Exploring questions both timely and timeless, they foster the skills of inclusive conversation, build habits of life-long learning, and illuminate the world we live in.  

 

Seminar’s Informal Curriculum programs are open to the public and (except where noted) are free. Most require no advance registration.

Spring 2024 Series

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Studetns watching a staged play reading in Claeys lounge

SHIFTING PERSPECTIVE: AWARENESS TO ACTION

Our Spring 24 series reflects Seminar’s ongoing transformation: ten new programs – including documentary film screenings, play-readings, and distinguished guest speakers – are featured alongside returning programs by our own accomplished faculty. Describing an arc from awareness to activism, the series offers multiple invitations to change perspective, in dialogue with authors who are looking inward (at the self), outward (at the world), and forward, to future possibilities.

Event Links & Reservations

Students in the museum of art

Reserve tickets, access Zoom links, and browse on-demand content for this semester's series through the link below.

SMC login required.

Click here

Mission Statement

Informal Curriculum aims to kindle a love of intellectual exploration, to encourage students and faculty to pursue interests outside their home disciplines, and to cultivate the habits of life-long learning  -- all in order to better illuminate the world in which we live. Through lectures, colloquia, performances, films, and workshops the Informal Curriculum creates opportunities for Saint Mary’s faculty, visiting scholars and guest artists to share their disciplinary expertise, and fosters interdepartmental collaborations and co-sponsorships. 

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Students performing a play-reading of Angels America in Claeys Lounge

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Students in the museum of art

Informal Curriculum programming is intentionally flexible, complementing the stability of the formal curriculum and the pedagogy of the Seminar classroom. Each semester, a rotating series of events enriches and expands students’ Seminar experience and introduces genre-specific reading strategies, while also supporting faculty formation as Seminar leaders. Informal Curriculum programs often explore questions raised by particular Seminar texts or situate those works within their historical and cultural contexts. But they may also highlight thematic links bridging the four-semester Seminar sequence, respond to campus initiatives and concerns, or engage with works of art, scientific practice, or personal testimonies.

 

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A large crowd of students in Claeys Lounge watching a staged reading of Angels In America
Image Credit
Sofia Mastroianni

 

Learning Outcomes

Informal Curriculum events are designed to support the learning outcomes of the Seminar Program, and for this reason may be incorporated directly by Seminar faculty into the design and delivery of their own Seminars. IC programs supplement classroom learning by helping students further develop specific abilities, including:

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Steve Woolpert presenting How to Read a Supreme Court decision in Hagerty Lounge

  • to approach texts from the perspective of different disciplines, using strategies appropriate to specific genres; 
  • to build the habits of life-long learning, including curiosity and a tolerance for ambiguity, provocation and controversy in the pursuit of deeper insights;
  • to learn to disagree with civility, and to distinguish impact from intent, in the context of reasoned discussion; 
  • to understand how texts are situated within specific historical and cultural contexts;
  • to encounter the intellectual perspectives and artistic achievements of marginalized voices; 
  • to see how texts address and respond to each other, within and across traditions and eras;
  • to discover how texts speak to our own concerns and lived experiences, and how they illuminate the world we inhabit.

By providing occasions for all members of the Saint Mary’s community to gather and discuss questions both timeless and timely, the Collegiate Seminar Informal Curriculum cultivates the kind of inclusive and collegial conversation that is essential to liberal education.

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Deanna Zibello leading an Informal Curriculum event in the Moraga Room during an Informal Curriculum workshop

Contact

Connor McCaslin, Coordinator

crm20@stmarys-ca.edu

925-631-5032