INQUIRY I SYLLABUS (Fall 1998)

 

Course Description

Please read the detailed description of Inquiry I and the entire first-year program in the introduction to the Inquiry reader.

 

Course Goals

Inquiry I is designed to

    1. equip students with essential academic skills
    2. create a common discussion about important issues
    3. demonstrate how the understanding of complex issues requires information
    4. from several perspectives

    5. explore the value of a liberal arts education

 

Learning Objectives

By the end of Inquiry I, students should be able to

    1. demonstrate proficiency in analysis and its related skills
    2. demonstrate proficiency in technology skills
    3. demonstrate proficiency in research skills
    4. use multiple intellectual perspectives effectively when exploring a topic
    5. explain the nature of a liberal arts education
    6. explain the ways that authority and knowledge may come into conflict
    7. explain different ways of knowing and different purposes of education
    8. provide tentative, but thoughtful, answers to the central questions of the course:
    1. How do we know?
    2. What is the nature of humankind?

 

Skills

The thinking skills emphasized in Inquiry I are

    1. Summary
    2. Analysis (cause and effect, comparison, classification)
    3. Evaluation

 

Your instructor will introduce these skills into the curriculum as you proceed, and each will be the focus of specific assignments. These skills will be developed and practiced in writing and oral communication.

 

Texts

Each student will be expected to purchase and read the following:

The custom published text entitled Inquiry

Bertolt Brecht, Galileo

Jean-Jacque Rousseau, Discourse on Human Inequality

 

Since approximately one-third of the readings for the course are based on instructor choice, additional texts for specific sections of Inquiry may be assigned.

 

Attendance

Students are expected to attend all class meetings and to fulfill the lab-experience requirement. After three unexcused absences the course final grade will be lowered for each unexcused absence.

 

The Undergraduate Catalog includes the following policy regarding class attendance and excused absences (pp. 68-69):

Regular class attendance is essential if students are to realize the full benefits of a college education. Accordingly, Westminster students are expected to attend all classes, unless specifically excused for some valid reason. Although each individual instructor may specify what constitutes a valid excuse, in general excused absences are allowed only for the following reasons:

    1. Course-related field trips.
    2. Illness that requires confinement to bed on physicianís orders or confinement in a hospital.
    3. Death or serious illness in the immediate family.
    4. Appearance in court
    5. Co-curricular and extracurricular activities recognized and/or sponsored by the College

Students are encouraged to participate in extracurricular activities, since these functions are often closely tied in to their professional preparation. Students who are involved in extracurricular or co-curricular activities at Westminster College must make this known to their professors before the end of the add period of each semester, particularly if such participation is anticipated to require them to be off campus at specific times.

 

Excused absences do not excuse a student from completing the work that is missed. When possible, students should complete the assigned work in advance, or at such time as the professor specifies. It is the studentís responsibility to apprise all appropriate professors of off-campus involvement(s). With the professorís knowledge of the studentís upcoming absences, conflicts should be minimized.

 

Where problems are identified which cannot be resolved by the faculty member and the student, a resolution will be made by the Dean of the College.

 

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is central to the purpose of any academic community. We ask that you read the section in the catalog entitled "Academic Integrity" (p.69), which includes the following definition:

Academic dishonesty is a profound violation of the expected code of behavior. It can take several forms, including, but not limited to, plagiarism, cheating, misrepresentation of facts or experimental results, unauthorized use of or intentional intrusion into another's computer files and/or programs, intentional damage to a computer system, and unauthorized use of library materials and privileges.

 

Of special concern is the issue of plagiarism, which is defined as leading your reader or listener to believe that what you have written or said is your own work, when, in fact, it is not. The range of plagiarism includes word-for-word copying of another's text without quotation marks and appropriate citation, to inappropriate paraphrasing of another's text, to even the unattributed borrowing of apt phrases or terms. All of these degrees of plagiarism are equally unethical and may be penalized with failure for the assignment, or, in extreme cases, failure for the course.

 

Assignments

The common assignments are described in this syllabus. Individual instructors may add others. The major common assignment (required of all Inquiry students) is described below.

 

Inquiry I Common Assignment

 

Each student will select a topic related to course themes, obtain the Inquiry I instructorís approval, and study the topic throughout the semester. The five stages of the assignment are:

 

  1. State why the issue is interesting to you, explain your current understanding of the issue, articulate several ways of knowing about the issue, and list 6 sources, three of which must be books or articles from our libraries and one of which can be personal experience. You will not be graded on the quality of your sources at this time. Due date: Friday, September 18.
  2.  

  3. Prepare a written preliminary bibliography, minimum of 10 sources, with complete bibliographic information for each source. At least 7 must be from books and periodicals. Search for sources from several perspectives and indicate the perspectives on your list. Due date: Friday, October 9.
  4.  

  5. Expanding the search you began in #2, select two intellectual perspectives with which you will frame the discussion of the issue. Include annotations (3-5 sentences) describing the content a minimum of 5 sources from each perspective. Due date: Friday, October 30.
  6.  

  7. Analyze and discuss the issue from both perspectives, presenting the merits of each perspective as a way of understanding the issue. Present your conclusions in outline form. Due date: Friday, November 13.
  8.  

  9. Determine which one of the perspectives more effectively helps you understand the issue and explain why it is more effective. Write a two-page summary of the analysis, discussion and conclusions. Due date: Monday, November 23.
  10.  

  11. OPTIONAL: Individual faculty may choose to expand the assignment by requiring a final essay, oral presentation, or other activity.

 

 

The assignment (stages 1-5) constitutes 20% of the course grade. Work done for the optional stage 6 will be in addition to this 20%.

 

Grading

For the determination of your grade all instructors will weight your assignments as follows:

Class participation 10% (minimum)

Papers and Projects 20% (minimum)

Exams/Quizzes 20% (minimum)

Common Assignment 20%

Lab Experiences 10%

 

Lab Experiences

Inquiry students are required to attend at least three campus events designated as "lab experiences." This requirement provides an opportunity to take advantage of special events (such as the Diversity Symposium) on campus that relate to the themes of Inquiry I. These events are or will be scheduled in the afternoon, evenings, or on the weekends. A list of approved events will be provided to each student after the semester begins.

 

Library Orientation

Four library orientation sessions are scheduled this semester. They will introduce you to resources in our library and on the World Wide Web.

 

Computer and Network Orientation

Each instructor will introduce these skills in Inquiry classes. A special guide has been prepared for you, and will be distributed during the first week of classes.

 

The Learning Center

Not everyone arrives at college with the same set of skills. If you feel you are struggling with mastering course material, or you need some help with your writing skills, please contact the Learning Center immediately. Your Inquiry instructor may require you to attend the Learning Center to address specific needs. The college has provided additional staff to the Center to deal especially with students in the First Year Program, and they are dedicated to help you have a successful first year experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WEEKLY SCHEDULE

 

Week 1 August 25 - 28

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Topic Knowledge and Authority

 

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Texts Plato, The Allegory of the Cave

Genesis 2:4b-3:24, The Tree of Knowledge

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Assignments

 

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Week 2 August 31 - September 4

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Topic Knowledge and Authority

 

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Texts Berthold Brecht, Introduction : Galileo

Steven Hawking, Our Picture of the Universe

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Assignments

 

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Week 3 September 7 - 11

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Topic Knowledge and Authority

 

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Texts Stephen J. Gould, Evolution as Fact and Theory

"God, Darwin & Dinosaurs" (tentative wave link)

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Assignments

First Library Orientation session

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Week 4 September 14 - 18

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Topic Knowledge and Authority

 

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Texts Simon LeVay & Dean H. Hamer, Evidence for a Biological Influence

in Male Homosexuality

William Byne, The Biological Evidence Challenged

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Assignments

Paper Due Friday, September 18 (Stage #1, Common Assignment)

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Week 5 September 21 - 25

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Topic Ways of Knowing

 

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Texts Introduction: Contact

Contact (show time/place to be announced)

Gary L. Comstock from: John Fire Lame Deer

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Assignments

 

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Week 6 September 28 - October 2

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Topic Ways of Knowing

 

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Texts Jacob Bronowski, The Reach of Imagination (optional)

Betty Edwards, Your Brain, The Right and Left of It (optional)

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Assignments

Second Library Orientation Session

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Week 7 October 5 - 9

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Topic Ways of Knowing

 

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Texts Laura Bohannan, Shakespeare in the Bush

Susan Glaspell, Trifles

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Assignments

Paper Due Friday, October 9 (Stage #2, Common Assignment)

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Week 8 October 12 - 16

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Topic Learning and the Purpose of Education

 

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Texts Abraham H. Maslow, Defense and Growth (optional)

Sharon Parks, from The Critical Years: The Adult Search for a Faith

to Live By

Daniel Berrigan, Peacemaker in Residence

(Monday, October 12: time/location to be announced)

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Assignments

 

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Week 9 October 19 - 23

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Topic Learning and the Purpose of Education

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Texts Bruno Bettelheim, The Child's Need for Magic (optional)

John H. Newman, from The Idea of a University

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Assignments

Third Library Orientation Session

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MID-TERM BREAK October 24 - 27

 

Week 10 October 27 - 30

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Topic Learning and the Purpose of Education

 

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Texts Paulo Freire, from Pedagogy of the Oppressed

Schindlerís List (show time/place to be announced)

Frederick Busch. Ralph the Duck (optional)

Jonathan Kozol, from Savage Inequalities: Children in America's

Public Schools (optional)

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Assignments

Paper Due Friday, October 30 (Stage #3, Common Assignment)

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Week 11 November 2 - 6

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Topic Knowing About Human Nature

 

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Texts Tuesday, November 3 (7:30 p.m./location to be announced)

Zev Kedem: "Schindler's List" Survivor

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Assignments

 

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Week 12 November 9 - 13

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Topic Knowing About Human Nature

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Texts Introduction: Discourse on the Origins of Inequality by Jean-Jacques

Rousseau

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Assignments

Fourth Library Orientation Session

Paper Due Friday, November 13 (Stage #4, Common Assignment)

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Week 13 November 16 - 20

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Topic Knowing About Human Nature

 

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Texts Introduction: Nova: Warriors of the Amazon

 

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Assignments

 

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Week 14 November 23 - 24

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Topic Knowing About Human Nature

 

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Texts

 

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Assignments

Paper Due Monday, November 23 (Stage #5, Common Assignment)

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THANKSGIVING BREAK November 25 - 29

 

 

Week 15 November 30 - December 4 (& Monday, December 7)

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Topic Knowing About Human Nature

 

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Texts

 

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Assignments

 

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READING DAY December 8

FINAL PERIOD December 9 - 12