SIGNATURE QUESTIONS

Every course in the quest sequence is attached to one of the following three “signature questions,” which are drawn from the responsibility area of the essential learning outcomes.

  • Civic Learning: How do people understand and engage in community life?
  • Intercultural Knowledge: How do people understand and bridge cultural differences?
  • Sustainability: How do people understand and create a more sustainable world?

In Connect, students synthesize their growth and development through exploring the signature questions. The role of signature questions in the University Studies program is to support liberal education and to provide connections between courses.

Civic Learning

“We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” April 16, 1963

Civic knowledge consists of an awareness and understanding of the various political and social processes that impact the nature and quality of life in local, state, national, or global communities. It also encompasses the cultivation of skills which may be useful in public life, like effective communication and ethical reasoning. Civic engagement means having an appreciation for and applying the values gained from civic knowledge in real world settings, directed at improving the quality of life in the communities of which one is a part. Civic knowledge and civic engagement emphasize learning, reflection, and action in order to create better communities.

Common Course Requirements

Click here to view the Civic Learning syllabus checklist 

UW Oshkosh Civic Learning Outcomes

The civic learning outcomes for the six braids of the spiral for the purposes of integration into a wide range of courses and co-curricular experiences are:

  • the self
  • communities and cultures
  • knowledge
  • skills
  • values
  • public action

Essential Learning Outcomes

Responsibility, as Individuals and Communities: Civic Knowledge and Engagement—Local, National, and Global

Civic Learning Teaching Resources

Intercultural Knowledge

“I have sought teachers in all areas of my life who would challenge me beyond what I might select for myself, and in and through that challenge allow me a space of radical openness where I am truly free to choose—able to learn and grow without limits … The classroom, with all its limitations, remains a location of possibility. In that field of possibility we have the opportunity to labor for freedom, to demand of ourselves and our comrades, an openness of mind and heart that allows us to face reality even as we collectively imagine ways to move beyond boundaries, to transgress.” – bell hooks, Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom

Intercultural knowledge and competence is the understanding of one’s own culture as well as cultures beyond one’s own; the recognition of the cultural values and history, language, traditions, arts, and social institutions of a group of people; the ability to negotiate and bridge cultural differences in ways that allow for broader perspectives to emerge; and the skill to investigate a wide range of world views, beliefs, practices, and values.

Common Course Requirements

Click here to view the Intercultural Knowledge syllabus checklist 

UW Oshkosh Intercultural Learning Outcomes

Responsibility, as Individuals and Communities: Intercultural Knowledge and Competence

Intercultural Knowledge Teaching Resources

Sustainability

“Genuine sustainability will not come from superficial changes but from a deeper process akin to humankind growing up to a fuller stature.” – David Orr (2003), “Four Challenges of Sustainability”

Knowledge of sustainability and its applications is the ability to understand local and global earth systems; the qualities of ecological integrity and the means to restore and preserve it; and the interconnection of ecological integrity, social justice and economic well-being.

Sustainability is about working towards a future in which all human beings can enjoy decent quality of life– good health, economic security, membership in strong and inclusive communities, the list goes on– while ensuring that we do not endanger the natural resources and environments upon which we depend. At its core, sustainability is about helping us live up to our fullest potential, as individuals and as a society. Making our way towards sustainability will involve addressing some very big and complicated problems– problems that will not have just single answers, or answers generated by single perspectives. Educating our students about sustainability means presenting them with multiple perspectives and teaching them how to critically evaluate the pros and cons, costs and consequences of the many options that lie before us. Sustainability is not about prescription, or about liberal or conservative points of view; it is about thoughtfully questioning, analyzing, and coming up with creative solutions. And isn’t this exactly what we want our students to be able to do?

Common Course Requirements

Click here to view the Sustainability syllabus checklist 

Click here to view the definitions of Sustainability

UW Oshkosh Sustainability Learning Outcomes

Responsibility, as Individuals and Communities: Intercultural Knowledge and Competence

Sustainability Teaching Resources

UNIVERSITY STUDIES PROGRAM

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