The Engaged Citizen is a one-semester course required of all first-year students entering Hendrix College. The theme of the “engaged citizen” combines the spirit of Hendrix’s Odyssey Program with the College’s stated purpose of “inspiring students to live lives of accomplishment, integrity, service, and joy.” From philosophers and physicists to artists and anthropologists, we all approach questions about what it means to be involved in our communities, whether locally or globally, in different ways.
This course seeks to illuminate the multiplicity of possible interpretations of engaging as a citizen through interdisciplinary team teaching, in which pairs of faculty from across the institution come together to form dyads and explore a sub-topic from different methodological “ways of knowing” that we call Learning Domains. The varying disciplinary and individual approaches to this theme are intended to provoke discussion and reflection on this topic both within the dyads and throughout the Hendrix community.
The students divide their time equally between the two dyad professors over the course of the semester. The dyads can also meet periodically as a combined group if the professors deem it appropriate. The course includes an engaged learning component, involving an introductory, hands-on activity that engages academic material in or outside the classroom and is tied to the content of the course.
The Engaged Citizen Learning Goals
All TEC dyads share a common set of learning goals:
- The ability to comprehend and appreciate a set of complex issues relevant to being engaged citizens.
- The ability to make connections between the evidence and methods from two distinct disciplines in order to formulate arguments about engaged citizenship.
- The ability to express those arguments clearly in writing and discussion.
- The ability to engage in and reflect on experiential learning that connects directly to the classroom experience, preparing the students for vibrant Odyssey experiences later in their Hendrix careers.