What is the purpose of the Humanities Commons?

  • To establish a foundation for student learning in the rest of the Common Academic Program and in majors.
  • To exhibit, at an introductory level, the value of humanistic inquiry and reflection as a means of advancing the seven learning outcomes of the Common Academic Program.
  • To challenge students to ask the question: “What does it mean to be human?”
  • To introduce students to the concept that learning is a process of integrating knowledge within and across disciplines.
  • To help students understand the differences among disciplines and to begin to understand the importance of integrating knowledge across those disciplines.
  • To familiarize students with central concepts and texts of the Catholic intellectual tradition.

What is the Humanities Commons?

For Students:

These are required first-year courses in Religious Studies, Philosophy, History, and English Composition. They are courses which educate in the spirit of the Common Academic Program. By introducing each of the seven CAP student learning outcomes through the Humanities Commons Student Learning Objectives and which are met by the appropriate disciplinary objectives.

  • English 100, 100A/B, 200H
  • History 103: West and the World
  • Philosophy 103: Intro to Philosophy
  • Religious Studies 103: Introduction to Religious and Theological Studies
For Faculty:

The Humanities Commons is an opportunity:

  • to work across disciplines in the humanities;
  • to share resources and ideas Humanities Commons Isidore site; (requires log in)
  • to attend common events as an academic community;
  • and to see students make the connections that show an understanding of the humanities as they grow not just academically, but holistically.

Humanities Commons Student Learning Objectives

Each Humanities Commons course will emphasize six common learning objectives that have been identified and agreed upon by faculty from each of the four departments:

Reading Primary Texts

In each of these courses students will read a variety of primary texts closely and critically (including self-critically).

Analyzing and Writing

In each of these courses students will analyze, in writing, a variety of texts contributing to larger historical conversations, debates, and traditions and as resources for understanding and appreciating the complexities of human identity, dignity, and experience.

Discovering Diversity, Social Justice and Self

In each of these courses students will develop an understanding of their place in community, country, and world in relationship to multiple others, with particular attention to differences – such as class, gender, and race – upon which social inequalities are constructed and maintained.

Engaging with the Catholic Intellectual Tradition

In each of these courses students will engage central concepts of Catholic intellectual tradition as they contribute to humanistic inquiry and reflection in the relevant academic discipline (English, History, Philosophy, or Religious Studies).

Making Cross-Disciplinary Connections

In each of these courses students will examine the question of what it means to be human from a disciplinary perspective, and in the process make connections among disciplines and develop an appreciation for the ways in which learning is a process of integrating knowledge.

Understanding Academic Integrity

In each of these courses students will understand and practice academic honesty as foundational to the making and sharing of knowledge as a community of learners that is both local and global.

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College of Arts and Sciences

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