Conversation: Sophomore Core

  • Eric:

    “Like in the human body, where individual cells combine to make organs, and organs interact to make us who we are, the Core class creates a system in which all the disciplines interact with each other. This interaction around deep and thought-provoking questions challenges our minds in ways no other class has.”


    “Until studying here, I thought of education simply as following the dots along a line. After Core, and classes in various disciplines and around the world, I see that education is better characterized as a detailed map that demonstrates the contours of competing ideas, change over time, relations between disciplines, the elevation of ideals, and the bedrock of facts, ethics, and logic. On content alone, Honors Core makes us examine our existing map and make room for new and different knowledge, often at the expense of unacknowledged prejudice or willful ignorance.

    “Science Core was particularly valuable to me in that the unit provided a synthesis between the humanities and the sciences, making otherwise unrelated material relevant to my major. So what would have otherwise been a course taken only to fulfill Liberal Studies requirements became an opportunity to examine my field of interest from a completely new perspective.”

    Laura Cramer

    “It was a great undergraduate experience that taught critical thinking skills. The personal attention from such wonderful professors was invaluable. I’ve been at an Ivy League graduate school for three-and-a-half years now and see the classes with hundreds of students and the focus of some faculty on research to the detriment of teaching. If I had to do an undergrad degree again, I’d go back to the IUP HC any day.”


    “This curriculum has changed me and the way I think. I became a different thinker. Everything I thought I knew and took for granted now seems shallow without critical analysis to support it.

    “The purpose of Liberal Studies is to foster well-roundedness in students’ education. When I’m writing for the core class, I’m incorporating elements of history, philosophy, fine arts, religious studies, and literature. I don't know that I would be able to synthesize all or even some of them into the writings if I were in a typical class independent of other disciplines. I recall John Locke’s theory on government, and it helps with analysis of Keats’ works. I've used history articles in literature units. We are learning a set of skills and a way of looking at things as connected.

    “This whole environment just fosters growth. We all want to get our degrees and jobs, and even money, but we also want to become more open people, to develop as citizens and gain a greater appreciation of how it all fits together.”