Small-Group Education

Small-Group Education

A full-time faculty member for every 18 students

Currently, the student-to-full-time faculty ratio at International Christian University is 18 to 1. Ever since its founding, ICU has maintained a consistent focus on small-group education because the university believes that instructing students in small groups is essential to a good liberal arts education. At ICU, "dialogue" is the heart of learning. Sustaining constant dialogues between faculty members and students, as well as among students themselves, is the key to helping students connect with academic themes on more concrete terms and learn at a deeper, more specialized level.

Precisely because small-group education, there is a dense relationship of faculty and students.

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『The ICU』 No.35 December 2014

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『The ICU』 No.34 June 2014

Students and faculty members create dialogue-oriented classes together

Many classes at ICU center on interactive discussions and dialogues--not one-way lectures--to make students active participants in the learning process. In order to take full part in their courses, students thus have to do their preassigned readings and come to class prepared. One tool that ICU uses to foster discussion and dialogue in the class setting is the "tablet-style" chair, which features an elbow rest and a small desk space. During class, these tablet-style chairs can be moved around to create a more stimulating class environment--one where faculty members and students can communicate their ideas with each other and ask each other questions.

Comment sheets (questionnaires)

At the end of class, students use questionnaires called "comment sheets" to write down any questions that they could not ask in class and any thoughts they had on the day's lesson. This type of feedback sometimes leads to changes in class content, thereby aligning the class more closely with student needs.

Office hours

Every week, each faculty member generally has at least two hours of "office hours"--set times when students can visit the faculty member and ask questions outside normal class hours. Office hours give students the chance to ask faculty members about class content and get advice in their respective areas of expertise.


The English for Liberal Arts Program (ELA), required for all students enrolling in April, includes individualized faculty member-learner conferences called "tutorials." During these tutorials, faculty members help students make their essays more logical, persuasive, and organized.