In the tutorial every entering student explores a topic of interest to the student and the instructor in a small group, discussion-intensive setting. The objectives of the tutorial are to illuminate methods of inquiry rather than to cover topics comprehensively, focusing particularly on writing, critical reading, oral communication, and information literacy skills. In addition, the tutorial initiates the process of planning for a liberal education at Grinnell through advising conversations between students and their instructors. By promoting close working relationships between tutorial instructors and their students and by combining the roles of instructor and academic adviser, the College provides students with academic advisers attuned to the interests and abilities of their advisees.
A tutorial (4 credits) is required of all students who enter Grinnell as first-year students and of all transfer students below third-year student standing whose previous work does not qualify them for an exemption. A student must complete the tutorial with a grade of C or higher to meet the tutorial graduation requirement and to be eligible to enroll in a “Plus-2” or independent project. Students who receive a D or F in the tutorial must earn a grade of C or better in a course designated or approved by the dean’s office as Intensive Writing (IW).
Tutorials are offered only in the first semester.
Information for Faculty Preparing to Teach Tutorial
Information for faculty preparing to teach Tutorial is located on the Dean's office intranet (login required).
Tutorial Titles and Descriptions
Tutorial titles and descriptions for the next academic year will typically be posted by July 1.
See the academic catalog's description of the tutorial, as well.
Sample tutorial Syllabi
- Russia in Revolution (Todd Armstrong, Fall 2001)
- We Are What We Eat: Food, Culture, and Identity in Literature and Film (Jin Feng, Fall 2002)
- Utopia and Revolution in Russia and the United States (Kelly Herold, Fall 2000)
- Freedom (Daniel Kaiser, Fall 2003)
- Exploitation and Subversion: The Politics of Popular Culture (Jean Ketter, Fall 2003)
- American Memorials and the Politics of Memory (Sarah J. Purcell, Fall 2004)
- Owning the Intangible: Possession, Theft, and (Mis)Appropriation of Ideas (Sam Rebelsky, Fall 2010)
- Darwin's Legacy in the Twentieth Century and Beyond (John Rommereim, Fall 2000)
- Degradation and Development in Tropical Forests (Monty Roper, Fall 2003)
- The Origins of Capitalism (Pablo Silva, Fall 2009)
- Free software, free culture (John Stone, Fall 2009)
- Computers: Facts, Misconceptions, and Ethical Issues (Henry Walker, Fall 2008)
- Decline and Renewal in the Heartland (Jon Andelson, Fall 2004)
- The Places I've Been: Outsiders, Exiles, Tourists (Yvette Aparicio, Fall 2001)
- Color, Culture, Class (Katya Gibel Mevorach, Fall 2008)
- Doing History: The Pullman Strike (Victoria Brown, Fall 2003)
- Humanities 101: The Ancient World (W.J. Cummins, Fall 2003)
- Americans in Paris: Through the Looking Glass (Jan B. Gross, Fall 2002)
- The Hero's Journey (Dennis Hughes, Fall 2003)
- Images of Africa (Kathy Jacobson, Fall 2002)
- The Middle East in the Popular Imagination (Kathy Kamp, Fall 2009)
- Narrative and Identity (Johanna Meehan, Fall 2004)
- The Making of Human Rights (Elizabeth Prevost, Fall 2008)
- Movement, Feeling, Who We Are (Liz Queathem, Fall 2009)
- Biotechnology: Bountiful Harvest or Bitter Harvest? (Diane Robertson, Fall 2008)
- NO LIMITS? (Monty Roper, Fall 2009)
- Marx, Nietzsche, Freud: The Foundations of Cultural Criticism (Alan Schrift, Fall 2009)
- Emotion and Cognition (Laura Sinnett, Fall 2004)
- Humanities I: The Ancient Greek World (Paula Smith, Fall 2004
- Painting Modernity (Susan Strauber, Fall 2004)
- Music in the Balance of Power (Roger Vetter, Fall 2002)
- Primitive Skills in the Modern World (John Whittaker, Fall 2003)
History of the Tutorial
Fall 2011 marked the 40th anniversary of the addition of the tutorial to Grinnell's curriculum. Below are documents related to the history and growth of the program.
- Tutorial Chronology
- Clotfelter Tutorial Proposal
- Obermiller Tutorial Proposal
- Early Tutorial Brochure
- Grinnell Magazine article, 1970
- Grinnell Magazine article, 1996
- Grinnell Magazine article, 2010
- Al Jones Tutorial History Spring 1999
- Clotfelter - History of the No-Requirements Curriculum, 2003
- Tutorial Brochure, fall 2011
Tutorials present an opportunity for experimentation for those interested in developing an interdisciplinary course, and faculty members who have taught shared-theme Tutorials report benefitting from scholarly exchange. New Tutorial instructors also have welcomed the mentoring that collaborative teaching provides.
Previous shared-theme Tutorials have included
(Context of law in the formation of fundamental political and moral principles for the governmental system; Context of law in the context of an overall governmental system)
- Religion and Politics (REL / POL)
- Papermaking (ART / CHM)
- Human Rights and Human Dignity (POL / SOC)
- What's "Right" about Rights? (POL / POL)