Lawrence University places a priority on preparing students for a life of personal fulfillment, professional accomplishment and a lifetime of learning. It is the job of every Lawrentian to learn by availing themselves of those things that are truly unique to Lawrence.
Engaged Learning is that which characterizes a Lawrence education and distinguishes Lawrentians. Although students may have encountered engaged learning experiences elsewhere, at Lawrence it is the foremost attribute of every subject and every class we offer. By actively engaging in challenging and meaningful learning experiences with faculty and with one another, students will be prepared to adapt and succeed in an ever-changing world. Those who prefer to passively absorb information passed from teacher to student will find Lawrence to be a poor fit. Those who prefer instead to explore, debate, create, research, practice and perform in collaboration with others—to be an active participant in the learning experience—will find Lawrence to be an exhilarating community in which to live and thrive.
From the moment they arrive at Lawrence, new students have something in common with every other new student on campus—Freshman Studies. The cornerstone of the Lawrence curriculum for more than sixty years, each Freshman Studies class consists of no more than 15 students who explore a multidisciplinary list of books, musical works, art and films in discussions facilitated by a professor. Students are asked not to summarize or memorize, but to think deeply and critically about each topic. The Freshman Studies course is required of all incoming students and establishes the expectation for all other classes to come—regardless of discipline. Those expectations include advanced preparation, critical thinking, active class participation and disciplined writing. The fact that all freshman simultaneously work through the same syllabus ensures that all new students share the excitement of liberal learning and that discussions continue well beyond the classroom.
Each year, more than a thousand Lawrence students flock to the sanctuary and serenity of Björklunden, a 425-acre estate on the shore of Lake Michigan that serves as Lawrence’s “northern campus.” A place where students are encouraged to leave old assumptions behind and barriers are removed in order for students and faculty to learn from each other, Björklunden’s natural setting is the perfect backdrop for engaged learning opportunities.
Keenly interested in their local and global communities, the active citizens at Lawrence reach beyond volunteerism when it’s intertwined with education. Lawrence believes community engagement is an essential ingredient in a liberal arts education and an opportunity for students to connect learning in the classroom, studio and laboratory with real-world experiences in Appleton, the Fox Cities and around the world.
Typical is not a word one associates with Lawrentians. However, one characteristic is typical of most students arriving at Lawrence: their wide variety of interests. The Lawrence curriculum is well-suited to such students because it encourages the exploration and development of several interests, rather than focusing on just one. Lawrence’s undergraduate liberal arts college is uniquely and fully integrated with a nationally renowned conservatory of music, a place where gifted musicians might be inspired to tackle physics and math majors may learn to sing arias. Athletics are also seen as part of the educational experience as a complement to, and enhancement of, a well-rounded liberal arts education. Lawrence takes pride in its scholar-athlete tradition.
Lawrence is by design a residential college. All students live on campus because we believe that a small residential community with abundant opportunities for personal interaction outside the classroom provides the proper environment for a liberal arts education. Juniors can learn from freshmen, science majors from art majors and student athletes from student musicians. Located near downtown Appleton on the banks of the Fox River, the Lawrence campus has become the cultural and intellectual heart of a vibrant, modern, Midwestern city.
At the core of everything we do is a deep commitment to our mission to educate men and women in the liberal arts and sciences: developing intellect, talent, knowledge, and understanding; cultivating judgment and values; and preparing students for lives of service, achievement, leadership, personal fulfillment and lifelong learning.