Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

College graduates are stepping into a dynamic world where people move from career to career. They need a set of skills that apply to a range of pursuits. Quest emphasizes self-driven learning and leadership, and strives for the optimal balance between independence, collaboration, creativity and intellect.

In almost every course, students at Quest:

  • Combine independence with group activities
  • Engage intensely with a single subject at a time
  • Work closely with their Tutor to succeed
  • Learn how to research, envision, execute and analyze
  • Learn to think past the obvious

Critical thinking

Critical thinking is the ability to develop a sequence of arguments using linguistic, rhetorical, logical, mathematical and other tools; to evaluate the work of others; to apply creativity, analogy, knowledge, modeling, and judgment to solve problems; and to reflect upon one’s performance and the steps needed to improve on it.
Quest graduates should be able to:

  • Evaluate texts and other works of the imagination
  • Analyze problems and contexts by breaking them down into their constituent parts, revealing elements, meanings, and relationships
  • Marshal evidence and develop arguments that build towards a thesis
  • Devise solutions (when appropriate, unique and creative ones) to complex problems, blending knowledge, judgment and imagination in the process
  • Apply quantitative reasoning skills where appropriate


Communication is the successful exchange of ideas and information. Quest graduates should be able to transmit thoughts using a variety of different media with consideration of their audiences; to listen to others with respect and discernment; and to facilitate effective dialogue.

In particular, they should be able to:

  • Identify excellence in writing and compose good English prose, as well as express themselves in various disciplinary settings and genres
  • Effectively present their ideas orally to peers and more general audiences
  • Use visual media such as physical models or technologies to aid comprehension
  • Listen effectively in one-on-one or larger group discussions
  • Operate well in teams, building consensus or facilitating options among members of a group
  • Recognize and treat with sensitivity gender and cultural differences


Issues in the complex modern world demand the ability to think and work with many distinct methods, and to make connections across disciplinary boundaries. Quest graduates should be able to:

  • Operate with the tools and approaches of a diversity of disciplines, including the arts/humanities, social sciences, life sciences, physical sciences, and mathematics
  • Form and articulate connections between disciplines, phenomena, cultures, and societies
  • Bring a variety of perspectives to bear on a single problem
  • Incorporate experiential learning into their outlooks and decision-making
  • Understand and implement the processes of teambuilding, and the role of leadership
  • Understand the effect of human activity on the natural environment and recognize the implications of our place in it


In a world characterized by the unprecedented availability of information, good research implies the ability to find what is relevant and assess its reliability, and to process data to reach meaningful conclusions. Quest graduates should be able to:

  • Use available search mechanisms (such as online databases) to find relevant data, opinion, or other scholarly work on a subject
  • Make informed judgments concerning the value of sources
  • Synthesize acquired information, for example by writing a review paper, leading a seminar discussion, or preparing a lecture on the subject
  • Identify areas of uncertainty or unexplored questions that could lead to fruitful lines of inquiry
  • Recognize different approaches to inquiry in different disciplines, and plan and execute investigations within and across disciplinary boundaries

International perspectives

We are increasingly a global community; good world citizens should therefore respect, understand, and be able to work with communities different from their own. Quest graduates will be able to:

  • Identify and work with the central ideas and practice of at least one culture or social group different from their own.
  • Gain familiarity with a foreign language
  • Understand the importance of deliberation in the conduct of democracy
  • Identify and articulate their civic rights and commitments


The process of articulating beliefs and values, and making responsible decisions in a reasoned manner — in short, living the examined life — is at the heart of a sound education. Quest graduates should be able to:

  • Give an account of their ethical principles
  • Analyze and discuss their own and others’ ethical practices, applying critical thinking skills
  • Use ethical principles and processes as a basis for action on global and local issues
  • Act with academic integrity, follow the Quest honour principle, and justify their academic decisions

Taylor Lehnhart ‘15

catch up with Taylor, whose Question led him to a career in marine biology


Kirsty Graham ‘12

on the funniest thing that’s ever happened while working with monkeys

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