Selwyn College aims to provide its members with a unique educational opportunity known as the Selwyn Experience, based on the College’s fundamental objective of being “an inclusive academic residential community, founded on the principle of mutual care, valuing and promoting the physical and spiritual wellbeing of all of its members” (Selwyn College Statute, 2009). The College aspires to function as a true community of scholars and as such undertakes to provide its members with a rich educational experience centred on but not limited to academic study. As a community of learning Selwyn College embraces four pillars of learning:
Selwyn supports its students’ formal academic studies through an extensive programme of in-house Tutorials and Peer Learning Groups (PLGs). Whilst our formal Tutorials are delivered by later year and Post Graduate students, the PLGs are more informal and once established only have the occasional support of a tutor. PLGs bring together students studying the same subject so that they can assist each other with their learning. The College supports both the Tutorials and the PLGs network with resources. The activities of the Learning Communities, Professional Development Seminars and Community Outreach Programmes described below include holding debates in the College that facilitate our students’ critical thinking abilities. The Selwyn Experience will also offer students the opportunity of publishing their academic work in the College’s own refereed journal. New initiatives such as the annual Selwyn College Art Exhibition will broaden the domains of our students’ knowledge that the College can recognise and encourage.
Experiential learning is an important part of the Selwyn Experience. A number of Learning Communities (LCs) will be established in 2013, including a Spirituality and a Sustainability LC. LCs are interest-based groups of students from a wide range of academic disciplines who come together to participate in multidisciplinary discussion and learning activities lead by experts in the field. These LCs are open to all Selwyn students regardless of their formal field of study. The experiential learning component will be provided by engaging in projects and activities both within the College and, through Community Outreach Programmes, in the broader community.
The Selwyn Experience aims to assist students to fulfil their potential, personally and academically. Our intention is to produce “Renaissance” women and men who will be leaders equipped to make a disproportionate difference for good in the world. We will also recognise the Aotearoa New Zealand context within which we live and will ensure that the Selwyn Experience enables understanding and appreciation of an indigenous Maori dimension across all four pillars of learning. The Selwyn Experience offers students both Professional Development Seminars on such topics as public speaking, ethical professionalism and effective interviewing skills, and Professional Engagement opportunities such as Faculty and Alumni evenings where advice on succeeding in a particular profession can be passed on, professional connections made and future employment opportunities canvassed. It also encompasses a very broad range of cultural and sporting activities and the College engages Knox College in fierce competition for the Cameron Shield (Sports) and Nevill Cup (Culture). There are also two annual sporting and cultural Exchanges with College House at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch.
Selwyn College is an Anglican institution within the Diocese of Dunedin. As such the Selwyn Experience includes a spiritual dimension facilitated by our close relationship with All Saints’ Church where our formal services such as the Opening Ceremony and Anzac Day Service are held. The College Chaplain, the Rev’d Michael Wallace, provides support to the College’s Welfare Team and is also available to individual students for confidential discussions. The College has a fine Choir and a number of Choral Scholarships jointly supported by the College and All Saints’ are available each year.
Mindful of the fact that the College will provide many of its students with their first experience of living in adult community, the Selwyn Experience seeks to provide a good template for healthy, respectful and caring relationships. All students are invited to contribute towards the ideal of living in a self-regulating, values based community where they are supported to consider actively how their action or lack of action impacts others and impacts the College. The Selwyn Experience will encourage students to contribute to a debate on which values and principles should underpin our collegiate living, and encourage them to ask what is right and what they require of themselves rather than what is permitted. Students will also be encouraged to understand the values embedded in our Selwyn traditions that are also the signposts to the future and the measure of our success as a College. They will be encouraged to contribute to the nurturing of living traditions, traditions that remain true to the core values of the College whilst also evolving to support the developing ethos of the College. The Selwyn Experience will include a renewed Community Outreach Programme of community-based volunteer activities intended to heighten a sense of social consciousness and responsibility.
All aspects of the Selwyn Experience are supported by the Selwyn College Leadership Team which is comprised of the Welfare Team who look after the well-being of each student, and the Selwyn College Students’ Association Committee who take primary responsibility for organising social, cultural and sporting events. The Leadership Team also ensures that the standards of our community are maintained. Members of the College’s Board of Governors, Fellows, Alumni and staff of the University of Otago will all be invited to contribute their expertise to the Selwyn College Experience.