1.2 The Academic Program

No college can provide a liberal education ready made. A liberal education is achieved only in a lifetime of endeavor and reflection; the liberal arts college serves to launch and orient that continuing pursuit. 

We at Kenyon seek through liberal education to enhance our understanding of humankind, society, art and nature. We expect to develop our awareness of our private capacities and creative talents, even as we seek to improve our ability to formulate our ideas rigorously and communicate them effectively to others. And, while we strive to further our intellectual independence so as to be free of dogmatic thinking, we seek to find a basis for moral judgments in a thorough understanding of both our environment and our cultural heritage.

At the heart of an undergraduate program of liberal education is the major field of academic study. This study demands a significant concentration of energy in a comprehensive and disciplined investigation. The perspective of a sound knowledge of one discipline is essential in itself and can help to disclose the structural integrity of other disciplines. The coherence of undergraduate study, then, depends upon the focus and organization provided by the major. Complementary to the values achieved through concentration is the richness that comes from significant encounters with a variety of disciplines. Both early and late in the undergraduate years, students diversify their studies. At the outsets they will find opportunity for new enthusiasms and challenges. Later on they will find that the scope, vision, and limitations of major study are best comprehended out of the perspectives afforded by alternative fields.

Finally, the sense of academic and social community which has been Kenyon's strength and pride depends in large measure on our willingness to be responsibly engaged with one another's studies. The requirements for Kenyon's Bachelor of Arts degree specify what we believe essential to the pursuit of a liberal education. While these requirements provide great freedom for all students to design courses of study suiting their interests and aspirations, they also provide a common structure to promote the balance and coherence necessary to truly liberal study. Thus, all students are called upon to organize their courses in such a way that the study of one subject illuminates and is illuminated by work in another. Every student must consider seriously the special character of knowledge in the four academic divisions in the College. In fulfilling the curricular requirements, students may find a road to the freedom enjoyed by the liberally educated: freedom from the tyrannies of narrow specialization and of superficial generalization.

Detailed information regarding the academic program of the College is available in the Course Catalog. This is amended annually to incorporate changes in rules and regulations governing the academic program and in details of current special programs. Authoritative information is also available from the following officers of the College.

The Provost is the chief academic officer of the College, generally responsible for providing leadership for the faculty on matters of broad and strategic interest, including the curriculum, the staffing of academic departments and programs, and the hiring and evaluation of faculty members.

The Associate Provosts report to the Provost, and oversee and coordinate a broad range of activities that support the curricular and professional activities of students and faculty, including synoptic majors, grade appeals, faculty travel, publication costs, faculty development grants, teaching initiative grants, summer stipends, new faculty orientation, the Kenyon Dissertation Fellowship, the Visiting Minority Artist Program, the faculty handbook, the College Calendar, external reviews of departments, the compilation of faculty review dossiers, faculty offices, furniture and desk-top computers, faculty start-up funds, and summer scholar programs.

The Registrar maintains the academic records of the College and publishes documents including the Course Catalog and schedules of final examinations. The Office of the Registrar should be consulted regarding enrollment, credit, transfer credit, and other details of programs and requirements.

The Dean for Academic Advising holds primary responsibility for coordinating all academic advising programs, including general advising and departmental major advising. The Dean for Academic Advising also develops programs and services to meet the specific learning needs of students who desire special assistance. In particular, this officer initiates personal conferences with, and provides special support for, first-year students and all students on Conditional Enrollment.

The academic divisions and departments of the College are:

  • Fine Arts: Art, Dance and Drama, Music
  • Humanities: Classics, English, Modern Languages and Literatures, Philosophy, Religious Studies
  • Natural Sciences: Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics, Psychology
  • Social Sciences: Anthropology, Economics, History, Political Science, Sociology