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The Linfield Six Modes of Inquiry

A. Creative Studies (CS)

Courses with this designation are dedicated to the study of theory and practice in music, theatre, literature, and the visual and plastic arts. They foreground creative theory, or creative practice, or integrate the two. These courses study the making of art and how meaning—sometimes tense or contradictory—rises out of the interaction between artists, artworks, and audiences. Thus, they ask students to inquire into the ambiguities, contradictions and tensions fundamental to art making and its aesthetic effects. Art is a primary way that human beings reflect upon their experiences and perceptions. Therefore, these courses encourage students to value lifelong engagement with the arts. Creative Studies courses are designated CS in the Student Handbook and in each semester’s registration materials.

B. Individuals, Systems, and Societies (IS)

Courses in this area examine how members of societies organize themselves to satisfy individual needs/wants and collective goals. They foster an understanding of the complexity and interconnectedness of individuals, systems, and/or societies across local, regional, and/or global contexts. They also encourage students to think critically about themselves and their relationships to other individuals, institutions, and/or social systems. Individuals, Systems, and Societies courses are designated IS in the Student Handbook and each semester’s registration materials.

C. Natural World (NW)

Courses in this mode explore science as a way of knowing about the natural world, highlighting the process of scientific inquiry and the interplay between theoretical and experimental analysis. They focus on fundamental principles that illuminate the study of our surroundings, including matter, energy, and living things. Emphasis is placed on students making connections between science and their daily lives. Natural World courses are designated NW in the Student Handbook and each semester’s registration materials.

D. Quantitative Reasoning (QR)

Courses in this category explore contextual problems involving quantitative relationships by means of numerical, symbolic, and visual representations. These courses foster critical analysis of the uses and constraints of quantitative information and its representations. Finally, they focus on discussing models; making appropriate assumptions; and deducing consequences or making predictions. Quantitative Reasoning courses are designated QR in the Student Handbook and each semester’s registration materials.

E. Ultimate Questions (UQ)

Courses with this designation are designed to encourage students to articulate and evaluate unexamined assumptions and paradigmatic ways of acquiring knowledge through a critical analysis of fundamental beliefs, cultural practices, and competing truth claims with the aim to develop greater self-knowledge and wisdom, the ability for meaningful dialogue, social responsibility and understanding, and an appreciation for questions that lead to deeper insights into our actions and the reasons for them. While this mode of inquiry strongly emphasizes an assessment of cognitive systems and symbols, such courses also explore metaphors and language that penetrate to pre-cognitive or post-cognitive levels of people’s action (ethics) and ways of belonging (sociology) often associated with the sacred. Ultimate Questions courses are designated UQ in the Student Handbook and each semester’s registration materials.

F. Vital Past (VP)

Courses in this mode of inquiry explore the human past and offer an opportunity to reflect on the continuities, change, and diversity in human experience across time. They investigate social, cultural, political, and other dimensions of human historical experience. They introduce students to various methods that scholars in different disciplines have developed to study the human past. These courses also encourage students to think critically about the interconnections between past and present. Vital Past courses are designated VP in the Student Handbook and each semester’s registration materials.