“A major impetus for the unique design of the curriculum was a panel discussion by business and professional leaders who explained what they wished they could expect in recent college graduates. They complained about students who had a lot of knowledge, but couldn't think and often couldn't write. The modern work environment usually centers around a team trying to solve a problem. Recent graduates aren't often used to working in teams—they do their learning alone and rarely have much practice in discussing ideas in a critical way or in conflict resolution. Recent graduates were also noted as being uncomfortable with problems where there was no clear right answer. We wanted to equip our students with those skills while still introducing them to the great ideas and traditions in our disciplines. We wanted a curriculum which would lead the students to be successful, whether they were applying for jobs or for graduate school.”
—Janet Goebel, Director of the Cook Honors College
Prepare yourself for the excitement of expanding your mind in ways you only dreamed possible—probing, questioning, debating, and discovering. The honors core curriculum, referred to as Core, is based on the great questions of all time. Questions that mankind has wrestled with since the beginning, from Plato to Susan Sontag, from Martin Luther to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This is a program for the intellectually voracious. It's a five-course dinner for the mind. You are challenged to explore new ideas, uncover old theories, and define who you are and what you believe. And you will be doing this with a group of people as into it as you are. Will we all believe the same thing? No, but we will all have to defend our ideas with new knowledge and weigh what we knew with what we discovered.
The design of the core course does not reflect the same principles as interdisciplinary courses which find their commonality in shared subject matter, i.e., “romanticism” or the “Civil War.” Instead, the commonality is in the many dimensions of the core questions around which the four semesters are organized.
The interdisciplinary honors core course sequence is so different we find it difficult to explain in a few sentences, so please click on the links and read a bit more about our program.