Drawing upon the unique resources of the Newberry Library in Chicago, the program seeks to give students the ability to conduct substantive research in the humanities and humanistic social sciences. Students develop their individual work in the context of a broad interdisciplinary seminar that helps to develop their skills as members of a research community and investigators of the Newberry’s collections. The program has these learning goals:
- To develop abilities as researchers—formulating interesting and researchable questions; successfully locating, understanding, critically evaluating, and synthesizing materials from the rich Newberry collections; and effectively creating a substantial, well-written and documented research paper.
- To develop skills as members of a research community, capable of discussing complex texts in an open-ended seminar setting; sharing the results of research and writing with peers; and offering and receiving suggestions for revisions.
- To develop an understanding of how a major research library operates through job placements and by participating in the community of scholars at the Newberry.
At the end of the program, students should have an appreciation for the value of research and critical use of primary sources and how a community of scholars maximizes the ability of a single scholar to produce high quality work in the humanities and social sciences. Students can expect to have the ability to formulate a proposal, to find and sift information, and to conduct research at a high level, leading to a substantive senior thesis project or graduate-level work. Students should be confident in their abilities to work with archival material, to synthesize a variety of sources, and to write effectively.
A set of common readings and lively discussions centered on a capacious interdisciplinary theme create the context for students’ research. Through those discussions and explorations of the library’s collections, which are broad but idiosyncratic, students develop research projects. They work closely with the faculty and their peers to develop research methodologies and to focus and revise their work. At the end of the seminar students write a substantial research paper and present the results of their work to the library community. Since the Newberry Seminar offers students a great deal of independence and freedom as they work within the context of a vibrant research community, the program is intended for juniors and seniors with substantial experience in the humanities. Click to see some highlights from the Newberry's collections.
The combination of the seminar and the student research paper result in a full semester of academic credit. The specific distribution of credits is a matter of negotiation between the student and the Newberry Seminar instructors, in consultation with the student’s campus advisor and Registrar. The 16 semester credits earned may be assigned to one academic area or may be divided among two or even three disciplines, if the choice of research topic makes that appropriate. Students are encouraged to start this process at their campus prior to the start of the program and to continue this communication with the Newberry Seminar faculty instructors during their time on the program.
All students who complete an ACM off-campus study program receive a grade report which lists their courses, credits, and grades. Most colleges accept this grade report as an official academic document. If a college requires an official academic transcript, ACM can arrange to have a transcript issued through Beloit College for a $350 processing fee. To request an official transcript, students must make a formal request through ACM.