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Teaching and Learning


We are living in a Golden Age for astronomy, and Grinnell College offers its students a range of opportunities to experience the excitement of direct involvement in astronomical observation and investigation. The unusually sophisticated instrumentation at Grinnell's observatory supports activities ranging from casual visual observing to active astronomical research and allows students to do projects that are connected to topics of current interest, such as the expansion of the universe and the behavior of pulsars.

A Grinnell Education

At the center of a Grinnell education is intensive mentoring of students by the faculty. This mentoring begins in the First-Year Tutorial, the only required course at Grinnell College. While faculty members from all academic departments teach the tutorial and their topics vary widely, every tutorial emphasizes writing, critical thinking and analysis, oral discussion skills, and information literacy. Each tutor also serves as adviser to the tutorial students until they declare a major field of study.


We are very proud of our alumni! Our majors go on to work in architecture, arts management, community service, development, education, law, and museums and galleries—or physics, computer science, and economics. Those pursuing advanced degrees in art history have a brilliant track record. In recent years our alumni have been (or are) graduate students at the most prestigious academic institutions (UC Berkeley, Bryn Mawr, the Courtauld, Duke, Penn, Stanford, UCLA, Williams, and Yale, to name a few).

Noyce Visiting Professorship

The Robert N. Noyce '49 Visiting Professorship in the Physical Sciences, Math, and Computer Science

In June of 1998, Grinnell College received a generous gift from the Noyce family, whose purpose was to bring outstanding scholars and leaders to campus from the fields of physics, mathematics, computer science and chemistry to enhance and enrich the knowledge of students and faculty in subject areas new or not well represented by regular faculty.