Academic Life at Merrill College

Merrill graduate Angele Labastide, June 2010

At Merrill we welcome all students with their wide-ranging backgrounds and interests. The academic atmosphere at Merrill College is friendly, engaged, and accepting.  Our excellent students, faculty, and staff represent numerous cultural groups and nationalities. The college seeks to expand its students' awareness of their own heritage and of the diversity of cultures around the world, past and present. Merrill students develop a sense of social consciousness and social responsibility, both locally and globally. They come to appreciate how people from the most diverse cultural backgrounds can work together, both to form a local community and to serve humankind.

Drawn from a variety of academic fields including history, the social sciences, literature and foreign languages, many Merrill Fellows specialize in social theory, international affairs, and social change. The faculty encourage students to perform to their maximum potential in coursework with the goal of living thoughtful and fulfilling lives. Merrill houses the Departments of Politics and Legal Studies, and Latin American and Latino Studies.  It also hosts the Chicano Latino Research Center and the Peace Corps satellite office. 

The Merrill Core course, "Cultural Identities and Global Consciousness", is intended to provide an occasion for analytical and creative thnking as students work to understand the nature of cultural identity and struggles worldwide.  Merrill also sponsors a variety of 2- and 5-credit courses ranging from the benefits of reevaluation counseling, to personal empowerment to leadership training. Additionally, students can enroll in Classroom Connection, a service-learning course that provides opportunities to volunteer in local elementary school classrooms while also engaging in classroom discussions of relevant readings on current issues in educational theory. 

Recognizing the increasingly rigorous requirements for science majors, Merrill--in collaboration with the Academic Excellence Program--coordinates the Science Learning Community to support students majoring in the sciences.  The Merrill Undergraduate Mentorship Program aims to inspire and prepare students to pursue graduate studies.  The Merrill College Distinguished Visiting Scholars Program hosts public and class presentations by national and international academics, artists, writers, and activists, representing a wide variety of perspectives.