Ways Guidelines

Submissions should consist of a statement or syllabus that outlines and illustrates how the course fits a Way in spirit and in practice.  The Way should be a major focus of the course, not a byproduct.

General Guidelines for All Ways Categories

In general, it is helpful for the syllabus or supporting documentation to:

  1. outline the major course elements (e.g., reading list, descriptions or representative examples of detailed assignments, projects, etc., grading criteria)
  2. show evidence of active "thinking" and "doing" experience
  3. describe how the goals/experiences of the course connect with of one or more learning outcomes for the Way

VIEW EXAMPLES OF WAYS-CERTIFIED COURSE SYLLABI

DOWNLOAD THE WAYS GUIDELINES (PDF)

About each Way and what you’ll need to provide

 

AII courses provide a significant experience in the use of interpretive or philosophical modes of inquiry to explore and understand cultural objects (e.g., art, literature, theatrical works, etc.) or the means of their apprehension (e.g., the mind, beliefs, etc.) as appropriate. By “significant experience,” we mean one that is more than incidental—an experience sufficient for students to begin to understand both the method and meaning of such inquiry, and the role it plays in human culture.

Common Misconceptions

AII is sometimes confused with CE. AII is the "study of" (aesthetic and interpretive inquiry), or learning through reflection, of the arts and culture. CE is the learning through the "practice of" creative expression (doing) such as dance, art, acting, writing, designing, etc. Also, it is sometimes confused with SI, which sometimes deals with the study of culture as a social phenomenon, whereas AII specifically works with artifacts, humanistic texts, objects, media and their particular aesthetic interpretation.

Learning Outcomes

  •  acquire and assess techniques of interpretation (including close reading techniques), criticism, and analysis of cultural texts, artifacts, and practices analyze the origins of social institutions and social structures
  •   appreciate the nature of human responses to meaningful cultural objects, and distinguish among the different methods to interpret those responses
  • demonstrate facility with the analysis of arguments for and against different theories and interpretation
  • recognize the frameworks for thought and action implicit in human practices, and analyze the different assumptions underpinning those frameworks
  • understand diverse artistic, literary, and theoretical traditions, their characteristic forms of production, and/or their development across historical time

Helpful Information to include in statement or syllabus (in addition to guidelines 1-3 above):

  • Course style/methodology (lecture, seminar, etc)
  • Expectations or guidelines for written assignments – not just the length required for a paper.

VIEW EXAMPLES OF AII WAYS-CERTIFIED COURSE SYLLABI

 

AQR courses complement FR courses, providing a focused experience in inferential and inductive reasoning. Students actively apply these methods of reasoning through direct manipulation of data, models, software, or other quantitative tools.

Common Misconceptions

Courses that study decision-making under uncertainty, best practices in quantitative sciences, or explain that correlation is not causation are not appropriate unless the students themselves are analyzing many data sets themselves (for example, using software). Courses that discuss or interpret the results of such analyses but without active involvement in the performance of the analysis itself are not suitable.

Learning Outcomes

  •  transform and analyze data themselves and apply estimation methods to solve relevant problems, guide decision-making, and/or answer questions of wide concern
  • distinguish between causal and correlational evidence in empirical data, as well as recognize when the available evidence is too weak to decide a matter
  • design experiments that alter the behavior of a system, device, or process in a purposeful way
  • recognize common mistakes that human beings make in empirical reasoning and quantitative problem solving including critical examination of the work of others
  • choose appropriate probabilistic or empirical models to solve a given problem, using information from observed data and knowledge of the system being studied

Helpful Information to include in statement or syllabus (in addition to guidelines 1-3 above)

Evidence that a substantial part of the work assigned requires students to use quantitative tools (e.g., software). Several assignments should focus on statistical and numerical computations.

 

 

Through a combination of instruction and mentoring, CE courses offer students significant opportunities to study the creative process and at the same time acquire the requisite skills to "practice" creative expression themselves.

Common Misconceptions

Simply asking students to undertake a creative presentation or project at the course's end does not meet the CE criteria. CE courses require students to engage with a specific creative medium repeatedly and progressively throughout the quarter while providing active mentorship by an individual who is well-versed in that practice. CE can sometimes be confused with AII and vice-versa, although the two can overlap. CE focuses primarily on the kinds of practical creative skills that are acquired through the actual "doing" of creative expression (e.g., dance, art, acting, writing, designing, musical performance, etc.). AII focuses on the critical "study of" creative works and humanistic texts with the aim of learning about and engaging in the critical interpretation of them.

Learning Outcomes

  • explore their own potential to produce original creative projects
  • engage in artistic collaboration and the creative reinterpretation of art made by others
  • take creative risks beyond their comfort zones
  •  experience what it is to make the unimagined possible and real
  •   appreciate how experimentation, failure, and revision can play a valuable role in the creation of successful and innovative works
  • consider multiple and possibly divergent solutions to a problem
  • explore the role of artistic expression in addressing issues that face society

Helpful Information to include in statement or syllabus (in addition to guidelines 1-3 above)

Examples of how progress is monitored and active mentorship is provided.

 

 

ED courses must have, as a central focus, a rigorous analysis of diversity as a constituent element across social and cultural domains. ED courses show how diversity is produced, understood, and enacted in the context of power relationships. Courses for which diversity in this regard is an ancillary theme, or where the student's experience of diversity is anecdotal, are not sufficient.

Common Misconceptions

Diversity should be understood as attached to issues of power and identity--it is a socially, culturally, and often politically differentiating force. It is not simply "latent" difference, or variety. Courses that deal with non-western cultures do not qualify as ED courses unless they treat diversity within those cultures.

Learning Outcomes

  • evaluate how existing social arrangements create and maintain social differences among people
  • acquire an understanding of the history and traditions of diverse groups of people and how social differences have changed over time
  • manipulate challenges that surface in interactions between people with different backgrounds, worldviews, environmental opportunities, and how social contexts exacerbate or reduce these challenges
  • explore power relationships within social, racial, gendered and cultural contexts and how those relationships have changed over time
  • assess and synthesize evidence about programs and interventions designed to promote diversity and inclusion

Helpful Information to include in statement or syllabus (in addition to guidelines 1-3 above)

Brief description of how assignments approach diversity as an organizing principle.

 

 

ER courses spend a majority of course time understanding ethical theories or frameworks and, in some cases, applying such frameworks to particular policy domains or cases. Whatever the approach, ER courses must present one or more frameworks within which students can analyze ethical questions or dilemmas.

Common Misconceptions

Addressing an issue or topic that has a value component or is ethically important is not sufficient to be an ER course. The majority of the course must be devoted to meeting the key essential feature of ER, namely, enabling students to reason about ethical problems and issues. Courses that include ethics as a part, but not the main focus, do not meet the ER requirement. Analysis of cases, or discussion of ethical questions in the absence of explicit presentation of one or more frameworks, is not sufficient for ER.

Learning Outcomes

  • defend ethical judgments about right and wrong action or policy in the face of competing ethical judgments
  •  discern the ethical issues at stake in individual and collective decisions
  •  identify, understand, and use multiple normative concepts and arguments
  •  evaluate competing ethical perspectives on human problems and actions
  • articulate and critically evaluate distinct ethical perspectives on concrete dilemmas

Helpful Information to include in statement or syllabus (in addition to guidelines 1-3 above)

 Explain how the assignments teach students how to understand or apply ethical frameworks.

 

 

FR courses spend a majority of course time on instruction in rigorous logical and deductive reasoning. Active and frequent use of deductive reasoning by students is expected, typically involving symbolic manipulations.

Common Misconceptions

Courses which survey work related to formal reasoning, but not actually requiring students to work in that direction, are not appropriate. FR courses are not historical overviews of scientific or mathematical topics.  Courses which primarily focus on the application of mathematical tools to large complex problems, via techniques such as modeling, statistical analysis, or probabilistic thinking, will be more appropriate for AQR.

Learning Outcomes

  • manipulate a system of symbols logically and consistently so as to derive or prove new results of particular interest or utility

  • study complex processes or systems using theoretical models to predict their outcomes

  • solve equations or optimization problems through translation to a standardized formalism

  • use deductive reasoning correctly through the study of particular examples in an area of interest at the collegiate level

Helpful Information to include in statement or syllabus (in addition to guidelines 1-3 above)

Demonstrate the rigor of formal reasoning instruction, and the student’s active use of deductive and logical thinking, by describing the course topics and homework assignments.

 

 

SI courses focus on probing questions that are of a social nature (i.e. pertaining to social arrangements, human behavior and forms of social, political and economic organization). SI encompasses a broad range of disciplinary and methodological approaches; in each case students must use engage with social practices, social processes and/or their history.

Common Misconceptions

Courses which contain limited exploration of social, political, or historical themes will not reach the threshold of intensive inquiry stipulated by SI. Some courses explore social themes, but focus chiefly on the analysis of aesthetic objects or on detailed interpretation of texts,and may be more appropriate for AII.

Learning Outcomes

  • apply the methods of research and inquiry from social science to the study of human behavior in social, political, and economic organization
  •   understand and evaluate historical and social change
  •  analyze the origins of social institutions and social structures
  •  analyze the effects of one or more kinds of social institutions and social structures on human action
  •  use and evaluate either qualitative evidence or quantitative data in social inquiry
  • critically evaluate primary and secondary source materials, and use both to explain social and historical phenomena
  •  use strategies for basing conclusions about society in data including causal reasoning, historical contextualization, hypothesis testing, modeling, and critical analysis of behavior and institutions
  • learn what makes a question about human behavior or the behavior of social institutions and structures empirically tractable and significant, and thereby become a capable consumer of research

Helpful Information to include in statement or syllabus (in addition to guidelines 1-3 above)

Sufficient information on assignments and projects to demonstrate intensive, sustained SI analysis.

 

 

SMA courses focus on the physical world, how we understand it, and how we gain that understanding. They encompass a wide range of studies and scientific approaches and components of the scientific method. The overall goal is to for students to learn how to formulate hypotheses, design experiments to test hypotheses, and understand when evidence can verify or dismiss hypotheses.

Common Misconceptions

While many SMA courses consider the social context, historical development, and/or ethical implications of science, a focus on the actual use of scientific methods or analyses is essential, as well as engagement of natural science principles.  SMA is sometimes confused with SI.  For SMA, the methods and analyses focus on energy, or on matter (e.g., chemicals, rocks, neurons, genes, atoms).  SI is the appropriate Way for social sciences focusing on social interactions and human behavior.  

Learning Outcomes

  • apply conceptual thinking to solve certain problems, bypassing calculations or rote learning and relying on the fundamental meaning behind laws of nature

  • assess and synthesize scientific evidence, concepts, theories, and experimental data relating to the natural or physical world

  • extend students' knowledge of the natural or physical world beyond that obtained from secondary education

  • refine their powers of scientific observation, the essential process by which data is gained for subsequent analysis

  • understand and utilize the scientific method in formulating hypotheses and designing experiments to test hypotheses

  • understand the distinction between scientific evidence and theory, and the role of each in scientific inquiry

  • utilize inductive and deductive reasoning, and understand the role of each in scientific inquiry

Helpful Information to include in statement or syllabus (in addition to guidelines 1-3 above)

  • Articulate of which elements of natural science provide the focus for the course.
  • Breakdown of how students are evaluated (e.g. problem sets, exams, projects, and papers).