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Belmont University | Belief in Something Greater

Junior Cornerstone Seminar

 Once you are well launched in your major, Junior Cornerstone Seminar (JCS) will call you back to the broader academic program of your university education, offering another enriched learning experience. Following up on the First-Year Seminar theme of “Ways of Knowing” and the connection between two particular ways of knowing from your Learning Community Courses, JCS will allow you to experience the actual practice of a specific disciplinary way of knowing that is outside your major.

 What makes JCS unique among the BELL Core courses is that conscientious attention will be paid to developing skills of collaboration and problem solving. After all, the ability to solve problems as part of a team is a skill possessed by liberally educated people. It is also a skill that is critically important in nearly any professional setting. In fact, during the development of the BELL Core, employers repeatedly indicated that Belmont graduates would be more marketable if skills of collaboration and problem solving were further developed. The common objective of Junior Cornerstone Seminars, therefore, is to create an environment in which you, working collaboratively with a group of peers, are called upon to encounter a discipline outside your major. Naturally, you will have an opportunity - likely at the end of the semester - to share the results of your collaborative efforts in a manner that is reflective of the discipline.

 So, while the intellectual content of JCS will vary according to the discipline in which they are offered, the means of accessing that content is the same across all JCS offerings: collaborative learning, defined as involving the “willingness to grant authority to peers, courage to accept the authority granted to oneself by peers, and skill in the craft of interdependence.”


Core JCS Learning Goals

As described above, the unique feature of the JCS is its emphasis on Collaborative learning. Through collaborative learning, students will:

 1. Understand the relevance of a discipline by engaging in disciplinary-based research in order to address a current issue or problem in the field.

 2. Gain experience working as part of a team and develop an appreciation for the importance of collaboration. In addition to developing an appreciation for the inherent value of collaboration and teamwork, students will also develop specific skills, including:


                         -Self-directed learning/knowledge pursuit

                         -Critical reasoning

                         -Group/interpersonal communication

 3. Sharpen research and writing skills through a genuine encounter with a discipline.

 4. Become more effective communicators through the presentation of the results of their collaborative efforts to a broader audience.

 Since JCS offerings also fulfill the BELL Core distribution requirements in the area in which they are offered (such as Fine Arts, Humanities, Social Science, etc.), the learning goals for each particular JCS offering will also resonate with other General Education offerings in that particular area.


 JCS Policies & Registration Procedures

 You will select your JCS from offerings in the Fine Arts, Humanities, Religion, Sciences, Social Sciences, or Wellness, which are part of your normal BELL Core requirements.  The credit hours will count toward one of those requirements; which one it counts toward depends on which JCS you choose. The JCS is not an “additional course.”

 In order to ensure that it does not become an “additional course,” you should “save back” at least one General Education course (from the areas listed above) that can be taken at Belmont University as a Junior Cornerstone Seminar.

 Students take the JCS once they have entered into their junior year—i.e. once they have earned 64+ total credit hours. (This is true for students who entered Belmont as true freshmen or as transfer students.)

 JCS will be offered both fall and spring semesters. We will offer about the same numbers of sections in about the same variety of disciplines—with a few sections (1-3) offered during the summer sessions.

 By definition, the JCS carries Experiential Learning (EL) credit. “Junior Cornerstone” is an EL designation in its own right.

 All of the Junior Cornerstone Seminars are numbered “3015” irrespective of their prefixes. If a particular section of a course doesn’t carry a 3015 designation, it will not count for JCS credit.

 Even though the JCS is a 3000-level course, it does not count toward your major or minor; it counts only within the BELL Core.