Academic Values

THE LIBERAL ARTS for a BRAVE NEW WORLD


At Webb we focus on giving students a broad-based liberal arts education where learning happens through authentic discovery and rigorous scholarship. We work to prepare students, not just for entry into the most selective colleges and universities in the country and around the world, but also for the rigors of leading in a fast-paced, fluid global community where personal integrity and moral courage are paramount.

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DISCOVERY LEARNING with RIGOROUS SCHOLARSHIP


Webb’s academic program engages students through directed discovery learning. Whether in the science lab or the humanities classroom, our faculty guide students in an active learning environment that allows them not only to acquire a core body of knowledge but also teaches them how to inquire and investigate using the latest methods of scholars and researchers.

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Featuring several projectors, floor-to-ceiling Idea Paint, and wheeled desks, Webb's next generation classrooms allow for exponential possibilities of learning.


Some examples: Our problem-based mathematics program moves students through advanced calculus, not through rote practice of skills in isolated units but by building problem solving skills as students together and with their teacher tackle real-life problems that often combine various branches of mathematics. Our robotics program fuses math and science as students work in a team to design and build an autonomous robot to compete in First Robotics Competitions, learning key principles of engineering, teamwork, and design along the way. Our humanities faculty develop students’ abilities to construct arguments and mount evidence in classroom debates, and many students chose to build on this training by participating in interscholastic competitions as part of our debate team. Our senior elective 21st Century Inc. Think teaches students the principles of design thinking pioneered by high tech design firms like Ideo and taught at Stanford University’s Institute of Design. Students utilize the design process in crafting their own business venture from preliminary idea through to a formal board-level presentation. As these examples illustrate, all of our courses involve students not simply receiving knowledge, but learning through hands-on discovery shepherded by expert faculty who simultaneously guide and challenge students.

Perhaps nothing displays Webb’s distinctiveness more aptly than the fact that every student at Webb is involved in our one-of-a-kind museum program—the only one of its kind in the world—The Raymond Alf Museum of Paleontology.

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At Webb all students study paleontology during freshman science. All students journey into the field on a fossil expedition—unearthing and then bringing home fossils for serious scientific study. This has been going on at Webb since the late 1930s. Students here who develop a passion for this work, can continue their study in paleontology through a full array of courses that lead to our honors museum research program. Students here conduct original research (and often publish it in scientific journals) under the direction of our two faculty paleontologists, Dr. Andy Farke and Dr. Don Lofgren. (Click here to read about some of our students’ recent publications in academic journals.)

Again, this unique approach to discovery learning represents for Webb a model after which our complete course of study measures itself—a curriculum built upon engaging students to think through real-world problems and seek their answers.