To satisfy the Focus requirement, students may take a set of courses that comprise a faculty-designed Theme spanning multiple disciplines. Themes are recommended but not required.
Connections among the courses used in general education have been shown to foster deeper engagement and more meaningful learning, depth and coherency that students crave. When courses fit together to tell a larger story across disciplines, students gain a better understanding of why they are asked to learn the material. Interdisciplinary studies across a common theme also challenge students to think critically about reconciling differing points of view and to approach a complex problem from more than one perspective or skill-set. Additionally, a predefined listing of courses supporting common themes helps to narrow the large curriculum down to a meaningful, curated pathway through the seemingly infinite sea of possibilities.
Each Theme is therefore introduced by a set of faculty across departments to provide such meaningful pathways. They are intended to be stimulating and engaging on emerging areas of intellectually diverse interest, but much more narrowly focused than the broad Topics of Inquiry.
The Themes used in practice will be developed voluntarily by faculty efforts, but for illustrative purposes only, suggestive examples of potential Themes are as follows:
- African American Voices – Literature, Film, and Music
- Artificial Intelligence – the Science, Ethics, and Economics of Advanced Computing
- Genetics and Humanity – What can we do? What should we do? From Science to Philosophy
- The Origin of Everything – perspectives of Physics, Metaphysics, and Religion