Pathways

Pathways


Knowledge Domain requirements may optionally be fulfilled by a set of PLUS Pathways courses. A Pathway is a body of course work drawn from all three Knowledge Domains that examines a theme from different disciplinary perspectives. Courses in a Pathway coalesce around a set of large questions that are central to the Pathway theme. Each course addresses one or more of these questions. The Foundational Studies courses cannot be counted towards a Pathway.

Students have the option to organize their required general education courses into a Pathway Focus, as long as the Knowledge Domain distributional requirements are fulfilled. To earn a Pathways Focus, students must successfully complete three courses from a single Pathway, one course from each Knowledge Domain. Students are still responsible to take additional Knowledge Domain courses to complete their general education requirements.

The following Pathways are now available. For a complete list of courses see the 2016-17 Undergraduate Catalog.

Creativity and Innovation

Coordinator: Sarah Marsh

Creativity and innovation are essential for individuals, societies, economies, and organizations to change, prosper, and grow. This Pathway addresses the inception of creative ideas in individuals as well as how innovation and change is experienced and represented by individuals, groups, families, organizations, and/or societies. In the Pathway courses, students will engage with the topics of creativity, innovation, and change in a variety of disciplines across the university--both in terms of the phenomena and their outcomes. Students will examine different types of creativity and innovation at work in groups, organizations, and the minds of individual thinkers. Finally, they'll develop a better understanding of how change and innovation is enhanced and how it can be inhibited.

Questions:

  1. How can we develop new ways of thinking and behaving?
  2. What is the process of creativity and how does it manifest?
  3. What precipitates change and what are its consequences as experienced and represented by individuals, groups, families, organizations, and/or societies?
  4. How are new innovation and technologies developed and diffused?
  5. How do groups and organizations engage in the process of innovation and change?
  6. What factors inhibit or enable creativity, innovation or change?

Global Connections

Coordinator: Abu Bah

The Global Connections Pathway begins with the premise that the world is interconnected and that understanding its peoples, ideas, resources and systems is of vital importance. Students in the Pathway explore the ways in which the world's cultures interact, and the practices and discourses that have and continue to animate those encounters. The environment itself, its climate and resources are also a valuable part of the Pathway, framing the stage on which humans engage with each other and the natural world. A rich body of work on globalization and its antecedents provides overarching questions across the knowledge domains and help Pathway participants think critically and comparatively about the movement of people, capital, and culture around the world and its impact.

Questions:

  1. What role does the environment play in the global story?  What is the relationship between humans and the natural world?
  2. How do resources, and the lack thereof, shape the planet?   How is wealth distribution decided worldwide and how do these allocations work for people at all ends of the social spectrum?
  3. What part do culture, race, gender, ethnicity and nationalism play in the global story?  How have they contributed to the world we find ourselves in?
  4. Globalization has strained the continuum of conflict and cooperation.  How has this interconnectedness played a part in efforts at peace, conflict and war? 

Health and Wellness

Coordinator: Steve Howell

Promoting health and wellness allows individuals to improve their lives as well the health of their families and the broader communities within a social context. The Health and Wellness Pathway affords students the opportunity to integrate a broad range of knowledge and skills to promote effective life changes and enhance their well-being, while providing a multidisciplinary base for those who seek careers related to health and wellness. Courses chosen for this Pathway constitute a holistic approach to health and wellness (e.g., physical, environmental, emotional, social, and intellectual). Moreover, this Pathway recognizes that achieving optimal health and wellness is a lifelong and continual process, and that a thorough understanding of the factors that define and determine wellness and improve health is necessary to comprehend the mutual relationship between the mind and the body, take personal and social responsibility for self-improvement, create opportunities for well-being, optimize quality of life, and foster new approaches to address a perpetually changing environment.

Questions:

  1. What prevents or minimizes chronic disease?
  2. What choices can have larger impact on the health and well-being of a community?
  3. How do diverse populations view issues related to individual and public health?
  4. What are the current trends, movements, initiatives, and future directions centering on the health and well-being of our society?
  5. What behaviors will further reinforce healthy choices?
  6. How can these behaviors improve understanding of connections between humans and their environments? 

Learning

Coordinator: Wei-Chen Hung

The specific processes and circumstances related to learning vary with cultural, historical, sociological and individual factors, making the area of learning a richly diverse and interdisciplinary field with many methodological perspectives, emphases and applications. The study of learning offers applications to personal, societal and professional areas of life. Students learn about the way in which learning is influenced by context, how to improve it, and how to assess its effectiveness. The study of learning also pertains to informed citizenship, which requires development of the ability to use information to think about an issue critically, from multiple perspectives and with an understanding of diverse methodological approaches. Students in the Learning Pathway will become aware of a framework of understanding that not only encompasses their own disciplines, but begins to include other methodologies into their schema of understanding. This will help students to not only become more flexible in their approaches to problem solving but more accepting of other ideas and conventions of thought. This Pathway intentionally draws from several diverse disciplines to attempt to challenge students' comfort and their methodologies, examining common issues and ideas that appear in several fields, allowing them to see the problem as a multifaceted way as opposed to a two-dimensional object.

Questions:

  1. What is the general nature of learning? [scope: humans, animals, computers]
  2. What are parallels and distinctions between learning, development and adaptation?
  3. How does learning interact with our cultural, societal and technological context? (Learning formats: Learning from media, in classrooms, online, hands-on, interactively)
  4. How do different contexts interact with methods of learning and their assessment?
  5. How can learners be guided to effectively use resources to solve problem and what role do inter-disciplinary approaches have in modern problem solving and thought?
  6. How do humans, animals, and computers develop the ability to evaluate information credibility and relevancy? 

Origins and Influences

Coordinator: Sue Deskis

The Origins and Influences Pathway considers a timeless question: how has the past shaped the present? By studying this question students will expand their understanding of who we are--as individuals, as members of societies, and as participants in the human condition. This Pathway considers the broader context of human society and culture, the relationship of people to nature and technology, and the broad array of human endeavors in creativity and critical thought. It takes the long view of the human past reaching back to the origins of the planet and the development of humans as a species. At the same time, it looks forward to such contemporary matters as race, gender, and sexuality in modern society. Courses in the Origins and Influences Pathway explore the ways in which humans have constructed their economic, social, and political orders, and they give vital attention to the central place of literature, music, and the performing arts in the human experience. Across a wide variety of courses and programs, students will gain diverse perspectives on the multiple ways in which the past has shaped our world.

Questions:

  1. What do we know about the origins of the natural world and our place in it?
  2. How have elements of the natural world and human society interacted over time?
  3. How have humans perceived nature, culture, and society over time?
  4. How has creativity shaped individuals and societies over time?
  5. How have societies balanced group and individual needs over time?

Social Justice and Diversity

Coordinator: Laura Vazquez

The prosperity of a diverse society demands that its citizens be able to contribute to public discourse and policymaking in an educated and thoughtful manner. The Social Justice and Diversity Pathway is designed to do the following: provide students with the necessary skills and knowledge to be prepared for active and responsible engagement in social decision-making; to unite people of different social identities; to create and sustain social and political processes; and to support a just and equitable society. This Pathway recognizes that public issue decisions need to be tied to facts, a fully developed personal sense of social justice, individuals' understanding of their identities and their connection to the larger social context. This Pathway also guides students toward an understanding of the political and economic mechanisms that guide the policy process. The courses chosen for this Pathway address one or more of these elements and were chosen to provide students with a knowledge base that will prepare them for a lifetime of informed engagement in a diverse society. This Pathway provides the opportunity for students to develop the skills, values, and personal understanding to become leaders in our globalized society.

Questions:

  1. Why is social justice an important concept in all fields of knowledge?
  2. How might engaged citizenship strengthen one’s sense of social responsibility?
  3. How do social movements transform societies and individuals?
  4. How do diverse groups shape the creation, investigation and application of science and technology?
  5. How does an understanding of identity help you understand people who are different from you and how does this understanding help you understand yourself?

Sustainability

Coordinator: Holly Jones

Many have defined sustainability as economic development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. Others stress the value of social justice with intergenerational equity and respect for the planet and all of its occupants. The Sustainability Pathway investigates both fiscal and environmental sustainability through economic and societal activities. People, technology, and natural processes will be critical elements in achieving more sustainable societies with environmental justice, with both costs and benefits being collective. Sustainability studies are relevant to a wide array of disciplines because sustainable behaviors must flow from knowledgeable, participatory citizens with an intergenerational awareness of the connections, and interdependencies among equitable societies, vital economies, human innovation, and goods and services. This Pathway is designed to equip students with the knowledge and skills necessary to develop sustainable choices over the course of their lives and professional careers.

Questions:

  1. What makes sustainable/unsustainable communities across local, regional, and global scales?
  2. In what ways do humans depend on natural systems and vice versa?
  3. What cultural norms and practices lead to sustainable or unsustainable societies?
  4. What roles can technologies and economic structures play in forming a sustainable world?
  5. How can we integrate sustainability into our worldviews and practice it?
  6. What tools of critical analysis and creative expression do students need to participate in sustainability across scales?