Approved Pathways & Available Courses
American Studies is an interdisciplinary approach to the study of the United States, past and present. Students approach the study of American cultures through such diverse fields as history, literature, religious studies, art, economics, and environmental studies, and might focus on such topics as popular culture and material culture, ethnic studies and gender studies, empire and globalization. American Studies students analyze America’s relations with the rest of the world, the construction and deconstruction of American identities, and changing and competing definitions of America (including critiques of the very name “American Studies”).
This pathway invites students to explore the application of critical ethical thinking to real world problems, thereby deepening their understanding of their vocational and educational choices. Courses in this pathway address ethical issues in areas such as communication, economics and business, healthcare, politics, gender, sustainability, diplomacy and war. All pathway courses include intentional and sustained discussion of the practical ethical dimensions of course content. Courses raise a wide range of applied ethics problems in diverse fields and professional arenas.
We value love, money, fun, faith, work, thought, inspiration, community, and friendship. Why? Is it enough to say that these things help us to survive in the world, or do we value these things for reasons that are much more difficult to explain? In this Pathway, we explore a more complex and controversial motivation for human energy, an interest in beauty. It is an interest we do not always embrace, often preferring the less risky concepts of “cute” or “cool.”
Children, Family & Society
Courses in this Pathway will offer students the opportunity to learn about children from several disciplinary perspectives, to learn about the societal and cultural structures that provide the context for development such as the family and school, and to gain experience working with children in the community. Students may discover that the courses lead them on a “pathway to vocation”: as they become both more informed and more passionate about children, they will be attracted to professional fields that address the needs of children and families, such as teaching, counseling, social work, family law, public health, and pre-med.
Courses in this Pathway will help students engage in the critical study of film and television history, theory, aesthetics, and production. Students will engage in the interdisciplinary study of national cinemas, international film movements, major and minor filmmakers in various traditions, film and media theory, the economic, legal, and political forces governing the film and television industries, and the relationship between film, television, the arts and culture.
This Pathway will focus on the history, theory, and practice of democracy. As both a political philosophy and a way of allocating power, democracy may be studied in many contexts:
Within political systems, as “rule by the people.”
Within social systems, influencing and influenced by other institutions, such as the economy, education, philanthropy, science and technology, social services, the arts, religion, the media, and even the family.
In non-governmental institutions, shaping decision-making and rights of stakeholders.
The unifying goal of this Pathway is to help each student draw conclusions about the contributions to and practice of democracy in contemporary institutions relevant to the student's major and/or vocation.
Design thinking provides a holistic approach to the development of new products and processes, emphasizing the creative, interdisciplinary synthesis of new systems that can lead to solutions for real problems. Important aspects of design thinking include the innovative application of technology as well as the need to harness such innovation in a sustainable enterprise. Design thinking may be applied to a vast range of problems, from designing a new consumer product, to adapting a device for low-cost and local production in the developing world, to solving global issues such as climate change and health care.
The Digital Age
The Digital Age, also called the Information Age, refers to a new emphasis on electronic manipulation of information influencing the global economy in ways the production and exchange of physical goods influenced economies in the past, in the industrial age. Explosive growth of the Internet over the past decade allows information, goods, and services to be shared between people of all economic levels from around the globe. This instant accessibility to news, entertainment, and information has changed the way we communicate, shop, and learn.
Feeding the World
The Feeding the World pathway focuses on the complex interrelationships among food production, food consumption, hunger, poverty, and the environment. Students in the pathway will explore how the production, consumption, and distribution of food resources are impacted by a variety of factors, including the availability of resources, income levels, and environmental degradation. The production of food in fragile environments and the sustainability of subsistence food systems will be explored, including the role of agricultural development in reducing hunger and poverty throughout the world.
Gender, Globalization & Empire
The Gender, Globalization and Empire Pathway provides students with an opportunity to examine the production of raced and gendered subjects through a series of interdisciplinary courses linking ideas about gender to imperial pasts, postcolonial theories, social and political constructions of citizenship, diverse religious movements and the intricacies of globalization. Courses associated with the Gender, Globalization and Empire Pathway highlight the need to historicize and contextualize individuals experiences within relevant categories of race, sex, class, culture and nation. Issues students will likely encounter in these courses include, but are not limited to: orientalism, modernity, hegemony, nationalism, militarism, fundamentalism and the gendered division of labor.
Gender, Sexuality & the Body
This Pathway allows students to explore cultural representations and social constructions of the gendered human body and sexuality. Because gender and sexuality are constructed through other categories such as ethnicity, age, and physically ability, courses will include a significant diversity component. And because the categories of gender and sexuality have occasioned both privilege and oppression, social justice will be emphasized as a theme across the Pathway.
This Pathway will explore human health and the biological, environmental, psychological, and social factors that impact it, with particular attention to global issues, such as infectious disease, chronic disease, healthcare, mental health, pollution and environmental degradation, agriculture and nutrition, and poverty and social inequalities that affect human well-being. All courses included in this Pathway will include discussion of the social context of health issues, and issues germane to resource-poor regions of the world.
Human Rights in a Global World
The variety of associated courses in this Pathway reflects the importance of theories of universal human rights and their applications to a multitude of issues involving oppressed and disadvantaged human groups around the globe. Most current debates focus on historical or contemporary cases of discrimination based on racial identity, gender, caste, ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation and age, which have produced deep social and economic inequalities, often given rise to violence, and occasionally led to ethnic cleansing and mass murder. At the same time, critics of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948 also debate whether its definition of human rights exceeds what individuals can fairly demand from society and the state. Enforcing laws based on a concept of human rights often produces controversy.
Courses in the Islamic Studies Pathway investigate Islam not only as a religion but also as a civilization and as a variety of cultural traditions, which have taken diverse forms in Muslim societies worldwide from the seventh century to the present. Students will have the opportunity to select courses from a variety of disciplines to investigate topics such as...
Justice & the Arts
Courses in this Pathway will help students develop an understanding of historical and/or contemporary works of art (music, theatre, dance and visual art) and literature as responsive, complex, critical or instigative in relation to issues of justice. Students in this pathway may be asked to analyze and reflect on artifacts already created, to experience live performance, or to create work themselves as a part of this inquiry.
Law & Social Justice
The Law and Social Justice Pathway offers students a cross-disciplinary opportunity to learn about and focus on issues related to social justice particularly from a legal perspective. Students who are considering going to law school or pursuing a career in legal services will be able to study the principles behind the justice system and have practical experiences that expose them to social justice issues in the community. This Pathway is also beneficial to students considering a career in government, social services, or public service as students will learn about community needs and deepen their understanding of how underrepresented, marginalized, and subordinated client populations and causes can be served through social justice law.
Leading People, Organizations & Social Change
Courses in this Pathway examine theories of leadership and cultivate the skills and competencies necessary to lead people and organizations to achieve social change. Students will be exposed to historical and current examples of leaders and their impact on the communities they serve. Students will also explore and research methods leaders use to inspire, initiate and accomplish change in various formal, social and community roles and settings. Throughout the experience, students will be challenged to think and reflect on the type of leader they believe they should become in order to achieve their goals while addressing the needs of the greater community.
Paradigm Shifts & the Nature of Human Knowing
At some time or another, many – perhaps all – disciplines have experienced a sea change in thought, when one or more scholars have pushed beyond the limits of the field's traditional approaches, assumptions, and understandings.Such dramatic, often rapid, changes that result in a shift away from previously accepted ways of thinking about a discipline can provide the opportunity for you to explore how people learn and how we think.In addition, understanding the sometimes wildly different ways knowledge is constructed and evidence interpreted in different disciplines can help you reflect more insightfully on your own education.This pathway includes courses that address ways of thinking within a discipline that are departures from the accepted norms and courses that include the usual ways of knowing and understanding in a discipline.Read More
Politics & Religion
This Pathway considers the relation of politics and religion in global perspective from early times to the present. Courses will invite students to explore themes of universal significance related to topics such as social, governmental, and religious systems; economics; the arts; literature; gender; race; science; the environment; and globalism.
A policy is a plan of action intended to achieve objectives. Public policy involves the laws that apply to citizens and residents and also to the organization of government. The laws include taxation, subsidies, and regulations. Policy involves ethics that provide justification of the objectives (such as equity), a political philosophy that applies to the structure of government, and implied theories of economics, sociology, and political science as applied to implementation. For example, a policy of the control of the money supply implies a belief in a theory of how the quantity of money and its control by the monetary authority affects an economy.
Race, Place & Social Inequalities
Courses in this Pathway will examine the intersections of race/ethnicity, place, and social inequalities within either a transnational comparative context including the United States or exclusively within the United States. Particularly important to this Pathway will be racial groups such as African Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, Native Americans, and Multi-racial/ethnic individuals. In addition, Whites will be examined in regard to “Whiteness” and “White privilege” in relation to the above racial minority groups.
Sustainability is most often defined as meeting our present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. The recognition that sustainability is an imperative that must be met stems from the fact that humans are using the earth’s resources and degrading its ecosystems in ways that compromise the health and well-being of future generations and the planet. The sustainability Pathway will allow students to learn about sustainability from multiple disciplinary perspectives and in interdisciplinary ways. This will help our students integrate the interconnected ideals of viable ecological integrity, viable economies, and equity and justice.
Values in Science & Technology
Our contemporary world is shaped by science and technology to such a profound degree that our students cannot be effective leaders and citizens without the capacity to critically engage the scientific and technological dimensions of society. This pathway invites students to understand the social values and social context of science & technology as social forces. It will provide opportunities for students from all majors to critically examine the practice of science, the social dimensions of technology, the role that these play in society, and the influences of social values on these. This pathway is open to all students interested in this topic, and one need not be a science or engineering major to choose it.
What am I good at? What do I love to do? What should I do with my life? The Vocation Pathway will help you answer these questions. Exploring these questions from diverse perspectives, you will develop your own sense of vocation, pursuing a meaningful life, not merely a livelihood. You will reflect on your life to discover your gifts--your talents and strengths--and discern your deepest values to live with greater joy, integrity, and balance. Considering the world’s most pressing needs, you will discover your own path of contribution, developing the clarity, courage, and conviction to make a positive difference in the world.