Our Core course is organized around a series of questions that we consider . . . sometimes in papers, sometimes in projects, often working with other students and certainly in class discussions:
Unit A: What do we know? What do we believe? What is the difference?
Unit B: How do we discern the good from the bad?
Unit C: How do we understand art?
Unit D: How do we create and use the past?
Each question is follow by a final one: What, therefore, should I do?
Freshman Core is the foundation of the Honors experience. This formative, five-credit class meets four days a week. You will be reading for all and writing for most of those days. Freshman Core is meant to challenge you, to expand your mind through an immersive experience.
Freshman Core represents about one third of our students’ course work during their first year. This interdisciplinary course combines the study of literature, history, philosophy, and the fine arts with emphasis on values inquiry and the skills of critical and synthetic thinking, writing, and problem solving. A team of experienced faculty will be your guides.
We will be reading and questioning primary sources: Plato, Machiavelli, Aristotle, Martin Luther King, Virginia Woolf, Chaucer... discussing and debating them freely with faculty and each other. We have shared a genuine dialogue about some of the fundamental questions we humans have been asking ourselves throughout recorded history. That dialogue often spills out of the classroom into conversations outside of class.
These, clearly, are questions no one can answer for you. A scientist will answer some of these questions differently than will an artist; a business person differently from a philosopher; but all should be able to articulate, explain, and support their positions.
The fine arts component of the honors Core course will bring directors, musicians, artists, and writers into your classroom for pre-performance talks. You'll find the fine arts here are not just icing on the cake, but are integral to finding meaningful answers to the core questions.
Whatever your skill upon entering, you will emerge from the freshman year a greatly improved writer and speaker, able to confidently handle future challenges. Your improved communication skills and ability to solve problems as part of a team will prepare you for the toughest advanced classes or internships.
But the intensive discussions of core questions don't end after the freshman year...
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