Cornell students, faculty and alumni reflect on One Course At A Time.

Laura Wetzel, Stevens Point, Wisc.

“Every block, I can completely devote myself to the subject I am studying—one month, I can feel like a computer science major; the next, I can become a creative writing major. I get a chance to try everything, and to devote myself to it fully.”

Student perspective on One Course At A Time

Jim Freeman, mathematics professor

“On a different academic calendar, your limited time on task—50-minute classes three times a week—necessitates reviewing the material. It's like a car engine being turned on and off and warming up before you use it. On One Course At A Time we don't turn the engine off.”

Faculty perspective on One Course At A Time

More student perspectives

Bekah Kurtz, Chandler, Ariz.

Majors: Politics and English literature

“I can do anything in three-and-a-half weeks. I could conquer the world if you gave me four.”

Marco Renzi

Major: Psychology

"Now that I am on the One Course At A Time curriculum, I can't really imagine anything working better. Everyone's free time is at the same time, and you never have to worry about clubs or sports overlapping with your class time. Your activities are never going to happen during class."

Halee Schomberg

Major: Biology

“The block plan makes studying abroad easier, and Cornell offers a plethora of study abroad opportunities in all of the departments. I have a number of friends who have gone all over the world from China to Chile, from Belize to the Bahamas, and I’m preparing to study in Guatemala.”

Jacob Kvale, Decorah, Iowa

Major: Undecided

“Cornell College is a great place to learn. The One Course At A Time schedule allows for a deeper understanding of each class. Cornell is also a fun, lively college.”


More faculty perspectives

Craig Allin, politics professor

“Real education has more to do with developing intellectual skills than with memorizing facts. In my experience, students learn more if they are involved, and you couldn't possibly get more involved than with One Course At A Time.”  

Professor Allin was featured in a Wisconsin Public Radio interview on One Course At A Time in 2011. Listen to the full interview

Emily Walsh, geology professor

“The best place to learn about geology is in the field or in the lab where students can interact with the Earth...even the most difficult concepts become clearer when you can stare at the rock, touch it, sketch it, follow it through the woods, hammer it, and examine it at length with a hand lens. As long as the field trips are in the syllabus at the start of class, I can schedule field trips of any length, ranging from half a day to several weeks.” 

Read more of Prof. Walsh's thoughts about teaching One Course At A Time

Scott Olinger, theatre professor

“One of the things my colleagues and I appreciate most about One Course At A Time is the unprecedented access it allows to guest artists...Imagine a four-hour master class for several days, a week, or better yet, an entire block. Most theatre professionals are used to living their lives on six-week rehearsal periods before packing up and moving to the next show, and it's often not too difficult to squeeze in a three-and-a-half week residency in Mount Vernon with a little planning.”  

Read more of Prof. Olinger's thoughts about teaching One Course At A Time

Kerry Bostwick, education professor

“Only on the block plan at Cornell College can students be placed in public schools half of the day and in the college classroom the other half of the day discussing what was observed and the theoretical connections. These practicum opportunities allow our students to progress with meaningful and immediate feedback from faculty and practicing classroom teachers.”  

Read more about one of Prof. Bostwick’s practicum courses


Alumni perspectives

Tahllee Baynard ’97, chemistry and history

Research science manager, Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center, Stanford, Calif.

"To find a true solution to difficult problems really requires you to harness all your mental energy for prolonged periods of time, and One Course At A Time served as an excellent platform for teaching me this much needed skill."

Laura Arnold ’04, English

Senior editor, Penguin Group, Brooklyn, N.Y.

"In an always-bustling office, prioritization is the most important skill to have. One Course At A Time really teaches you to focus in on one thing, even in the midst of a multitude of extracurricular activities. Meanwhile, the emphasis on sharp writing and a clear thought process that the English department taught me has been very beneficial in an industry where the written word is paramount."

Jamie Wallace Smith ’05, biochemistry and molecular biology

Family physician, Mount Vernon, Iowa

“Clinical rotations in medical school are often month-long, intense experiences focusing in one specialty, but also encouraging students to integrate what they learn from rotation to rotation. Sound familiar? It's the same concept as One Course At A Time.”

Harper Reed ’01, computer science

CEO, Modest software development, Chicago

“My experience with One Course At A Time at Cornell College prepared me for being successful in the high intensity and insane path that I have chosen.”

Katie Crooks ’04, art history with minors in English and psychology

Public programs coordinator, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.

"During my junior year I was able to take a course in Greece for one month, studying the ruins and ancient sites many students only see in books. Leaving campus for only one month allowed me to stay connected to Cornell, while broadening my horizons and enriching my education. The course was amazing, and even though it was not offered through the art department, I was able to take what I learned and apply it directly to my major. Many courses at Cornell are interdisciplinary, and professors are eager to help make connections that are meaningful and relevant to each individual student."