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Ways of Knowing


Courses in the Ways of Knowing Focus Capacity help you to flex your “seeking to understand” muscle by exposing you to a variety of perspectives and giving you the skills to interrogate assumptions of yourself and others.

Explore a concept from a variety of perspectives which will reveal patterns of thought that you may not be aware exist. Tackle new experiences that teach you how to become more aware of yourself and your beliefs. The course you choose will challenge you to consider what you take for granted and learn to seek out critical information when tackling questions and problems.

Learning Outcomes

These are the learning outcomes that are expected of students after completing a course.


Recognize and use one or more approach/es to developing and validating knowledge of the unfamiliar world


Evaluate ways that temporal, spatial, scientific, and philosophical categories structure knowledge.


Interrogate assumptions that underlie our own perceptions of the world.


Employ strategies to mitigate or adjust for preconceptions and biases.


Apply critical insights to understand patterns of experience and belief.

Questions for Students

These are the types of questions you should be able to answer after completing a course.


What norms and expectations do I take for granted?


What categories and concepts frame my assumptions, experiences, and beliefs?


What practices of investigation or inquiry best challenge those assumptions and expectations?


How can I consider whether my beliefs might be wrong?

Recurring Capacities

Every focus capacity course includes the following activities:


Writing, totaling at least 10 pages in length or the intellectual equivalent


Presenting material to the class, smaller groups, or the public through oral presentations, webpages, or other means


Collaborating in pairs or groups to learn, design, solve, create, build, or research

These elements – referred to as “recurring capacities” – will help you repeatedly practice crucial skills for future study, life, and career success.

Course Offerings

There are a wide range of courses you can take to meet the Ways of Knowing focus capacity requirement. Here are a few examples:

Faculty Resources

Any department may offer classes that fulfill any focus capacity as long as they meet the learning outcomes for that capacity.

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