Introduction to Liberal Arts

Introduction to Liberal Arts – also known as ILA – is a holistic first-year experience course. The course provides a transition into the Monmouth learning community.

Professor Julie Rothbardt's ILA class gathers for a group photo. Professor Julie Rothbardt's ILA class gathers for a group photo.

ILA sections are taught by faculty from departments across campus, and ILA instructors also serve as academic advisers for first-year students.

Students meet with their ILA class for the first time during fall orientation; upperclass students serve as first-year mentors for students in ILA. 

ILA courses invite first-year students to delve into questions of human values and purposes. These are the central values of the liberal arts. Through them and through our work with common texts, convocations and other activities, we consider the meaning and significance of complex issues. 

Our goals and big ideas

In addition to exploring a liberal arts educational philosophy and supporting students’ transition to college, discussions and activities in ILA focus on two key components:

1.) Consider the meanings, complexities, and applications of the theme: Self, Stranger, Community

2.) Engage in close reading of diverse texts including:

  • Becoming a Learner by Matthew Sanders
  • The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls
  • Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri
  • So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
  • Happiness Hypothesis by Jonathan Haidt
  • Going to Meet the Man: Stories by James Baldwin