Individual and Community Integrated Curriculum

Individual and Community CurriculumNo theme has more power or relevance in 21st century America than that of the individual and community. What are the claims of community in our increasingly individualistic society? How can we reassert our responsibility to the human community while protecting and reaffirming the dignity of each individual? How shall we conduct ourselves as citizens in a democracy in circumstances in which "looking after number one" often seems the norm? The
Individual and Community theme works its way through the College at Rindge's innovative 38-credit general education curriculum.

The Individual and Community Integrated Curriculum is taken by all students, regardless of their academic major, and provides a shared learning experience andcommon ground for conversation both in and out of the classroom. The purpose of the Individual and Community program is not to instill in students a prescribed set of answers, but to foster a common understanding of the questions and issues that lie at the heart of contemporary American life.

The Integrated Curriculum begins with a one-semester seminar called Individual and Community First-Year Seminar, in which students are introduced to the academic expectations of a liberal arts university while they begin to explore the themes and issues that will run throughout the curriculum. The program continues with a sequence of courses spanning the student's four years of study at the College at Rindge, culminating in a senior capstone experience determined by the major program of study. These courses are carefully designed to encourage students to read, write, and think at progressively more sophisticated levels as they move from one semester to the next, with each course building on the skills and knowledge gained in preceding courses. The Integrated Curriculum courses are taken simultaneously with elective courses and courses from the student's chosen major, and students are encouraged to consider connections between their liberal education experience and their studies in the major.

Most of the courses in the Individual and Community Integrated Curriculum are interdisciplinary, combining ideas and perspectives from a variety of fields of study, and are designed by teams of faculty members drawn from different academic departments. This interdisciplinary approach helps students to see the fundamental interconnections among the various fields of human knowledge-the relationship between history and the arts, for instance, or between psychology and literature-in a way that is not often possible in more traditional departmental course offerings.

The Integrated Curriculum courses all emphasize the active involvement of students in the learning process. Beginning with the Individual and Community First-Year Seminar and other first-year courses, students are encouraged to speak in class and work collaboratively with classmates to explore issues and solve problems. The experience of active learning in these courses prepares students to succeed in college and as lifelong learners.