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New Students: Cornerstone

Welcome to Clarke! Our entire Cornerstone faculty welcomes you.

As you might have heard during some of the orientation talks or read in your materials, Cornerstone is the six-hour writing and speaking required course for all first-year students. During this class we build on your acquired speaking and writing skills so you will be prepared to handle assignments and projects in courses throughout your four years of College. We also have a summer reading requirement which, this year, is an electronic reading assignment.

Your two-part basic assignment

  1. As Clarke is implementing the new Compass Program this year, the Cornerstone courses will introduce the concept of the “common good” through the This I Believe experience. Each student is required to read the four essays listed below from the NPR website “This I Believe.” Then choose six essays you really like! There are hundreds of essays in this site; actually, you might know about them and/or have read some of them. The most recent essays are published up front; the others are archived according to themes. All are easy to find, and all are short—no longer than 500 words! You will be able to read many of them before making your final decision about your “best six!”
  2. Keep track of the titles and authors of the essays and of the reasons you liked each one. Click here to download a reading record sheet to jot down your ideas. When classes begin in August, your Cornerstone teacher will expect you to arrive with a record of your ten essays and your reasons for liking them. Much of the material used during the early part of the semester will relate to these essays, and class projects and assignments will be based on them

*Required four "This I Believe" essays are:

  • A Devotion to the Common Good by Percy Lee - Farmington, Connecticut - Broadcast during the 1950's
  • Following the Pumpkin Patch Honor Code by Susan - Bueche, Louisana - Entered on November 29, 2010
  • It's My Fault by Dave - Ridgefield, Connecticut - Entered on May 26, 2006
  • I Believe in the Importance of the Common Good (no title) by Emil - Phillipsburg, New Jersey - Entered on October 3, 2006 

The due date for this assignment is the first day of Cornerstone class.

May your summer be enriching and fun.  We look forward to meeting you and working with you in August!

- Ellen Gabrielleschi and Cornerstone faculty

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