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CASE Critical Approaches to the Arts and Sciences

CASE Critical Approaches (CAPP) courses help first- and second-year students develop an understanding of the fundamental questions and methods in the various disciplines, departments and programs represented in the College and in the liberal arts. Rather than focusing on depth of coverage, CASE Critical Approaches courses should introduce students to the different kinds of scholarship that take place in a university and to the ways that universities organize knowledge. In addition, the CASE Critical Approaches courses serve as a gateway to the College experience and encourage students to engage intellectually and creatively with a wide variety of current and provocative issues. We also anticipate that courses related to current or upcoming Themester themes will be part of the CASE Critical Approaches inventory.

Through CASE Critical Approaches courses, students should learn about the ways particular disciplines solve problems, seek answers and organize ideas. Alternatively, these courses can demonstrate the merits of viewing a problem from an interdisciplinary or a multidisciplinary perspective. These courses teach students how to seek information from various sources, to evaluate the validity of that information, and to construct arguments. In other words, one of the main objectives of CASE Critical Approaches courses is to instill sound research and writing practices that students will employ in their future undergraduate course work.

Any full-time member (including a full-time lecturer) of the College faculty is eligible to teach CASE Critical Approaches. In the best case, faculty involved in this initiative will span the disciplines, come from departments large and small, and include both junior and senior scholars. These faculty members will have several opportunities to interact with other faculty members teaching CASE Critical Approaches courses and to learn from this community of committed teachers. Faculty members may use CASE Critical Approaches courses to explore subjects that fall outside the curricular offerings of a particular department, enabling them to introduce students to new or related topics. They may also take a question pursued in their disciplines and introduce students to the approaches used by scholars in that field to investigate and understand the problem. 

Enrollments in CASE Critical Approaches courses will be credited to the departments, and these courses, depending on their size and capacity, may carry additional AI appointments. CASE Critical Approaches offers departments the opportunity to attract students at the beginning of their studies in the College and offers students CASE Breadth of Inquiry credit as well as a means of satisfying a campus-wide General Education Breadth of Inquiry Requirement.

To propose a course for CASE Critical Approaches, please submit a syllabus and answer the following 5 questions:

  1. To whom will the course appeal?
  2. What learning outcomes do you anticipate for this course?
  3. Why does it make more sense to offer this course as part of the Critical Approaches inventory rather than through your department?
  4. Do you anticipate 60 or 120 students? (To ensure equity across departments and for the College to be able to accommodate the necessary number of students, Critical Approaches courses proposed must target one or the other enrollment size.)
  5. Many courses do not fit neatly into any one category. Why should this course carry CASE A&H, CASE S&H, or CASE N&M credit (it must fall within one of these rubrics.)?

All proposals for CASE Critical Approaches courses should be submitted for review and approval by the College. Proposals for courses to be offered during the 2014–2015 academic year are due on Friday, October 18 at 5:00 p.m." Faculty will be notified in mid-November regarding which courses have been selected. Proposals should be submitted to John Lucaites, Associate Dean for Arts and Humanities and Undergraduate Education, at collschd at