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SAS Signature Course Initiative

The Signature Course Initiative supports the development of new courses of grand scope and size that introduce students to the enduring questions that the liberal arts and sciences disciplines within the modern research university address, particularly as they pertain to the challenges of the 21st century our students will face. These courses are central to the new Core Curriculum and are particularly important to the 21st century challenges section of the Core.

Focused on big ideas and questions, Signature Courses provide students with an experiential introduction to the liberal arts and sciences curriculum. Created and regularly taught by our outstanding teacher-scholars who have a particular mastery of the large lecture format, the Signature course model is designed to create large groups of students with a common basis for intellectual exchange and honor outstanding SAS faculty by showcasing their teaching.

The SAS Signature Course Initiative brings together primarily first and second year students with “our most eloquent and demanding faculty from across the disciplinary spectrum,” to make the world of ideas tangible for our students and ignite the transformative process that characterizes liberal arts and sciences education.

The SAS Signature Course Steering Committee (SCSC) invites proposals for Signature courses. For details, review the pdf Signature Courses RFP (pdf). pdf   Review of proposals is on-going and most frequently is an iterative process. Faculty are urged to make initial inquiries before investing time in crafting full proposals.

Please send ideas, inquiries, and proposals in care of This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. SAS Dean for Educational Initiatives and Curriculum.

The SAS Signature Course Selection Criteria:

1) focus is on broad, intellectually sweeping, multi-disciplinary question(s) of enduring and current importance (generally summed up with a pithy memorable title); focus is appealing to first year students beyond those interested in a particular major / open to students with a broad range of disciplinary specializations. Other relevant departments have been consulted and their expertise, where appropriate, has been incorporated; and the course fits well into the broader SAS curriculum and does not overlap (too much) with other Signature courses.

2) faculty member(s) has a demonstrated ability to successfully engage students in the large lecture format and makes a minimum three year commitment to teach the course endorsed by faculty members’ department chair (after three years the Steering Committee will review the viability of continuing the course, with the presumption being that well-enrolled courses will continue)

3) explicitly addresses and engages new pdf Core Curriculum learning goals . Incorporates direct assessment of Core Curriculum Learning Goals using an embedded assignment scored on the pdf Core Rubrics .

4) adopts a workable course structure suited to the needs of novice undergraduates and includes a plan for staffing recitation sections.

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