Hiram College

Core Curriculum

Your courses at Hiram will help you develop intellectually, providing critical skills and information that will equip you for a career after college. They also will help you put your acquired knowledge in social perspective, asking you to consider how you might put your skills in the service of others.

Your graduation requirements include successful completion of Hiram’s Core Curriculum, (the Urgent Challenges Curriculum), consisting of two courses in the first year, eight “ways of knowing,” and an interdisciplinary requirement.

The First-Year Program

The Urgent Challenges Curriculum begins with two courses taken during the fall and spring semesters of the first year.  In the fall, you will take a First Year Enduring Questions Seminar (FYEN).  At the heart of each seminar is a question that has stood the test of time and to which there is no definitive answer, such as “What is a Life Well Live?” or “What is Justice?”  You are introduced to a variety of disciplinary perspectives that will help you engage with these questions and begin to formulate intelligent, well informed responses of your own.

During the spring semester, you will continue to develop an interdisciplinary approach to address more urgent questions of our time.  In the First Year Urgent Questions Seminar (FYUR), the questions are more contemporary in nature and address specific issues in our society.  For instance, while defining justice is an enduring question, defining justice in the context of a racially divided, economically unequal society demands that new disciplinary perspectives be brought into the discussion.

Together, these two courses will help you to improve your written and oral communication, to develop research skills and to enhance your capacity to read critically, analyze, and discuss significant literature.  In essence, these courses are designed to introduce you to a multidisciplinary way of thinking about and approaching complex issues in the world of yesterday and today.

Of course, these are not the only classes you will take during the first year.  You will typically take three classes during each twelve-week session and one class during each three-week session.  You may want to take an additional one-hour course in music lessons or student development courses. Your advisor will help you make sure you are registered for the appropriate courses.

Ways of Knowing

You’ll take one course from each of the eight areas designated as core components of the Hiram College liberal arts education. These eight academic areas are:

  1. creative methods (CM)
  2. interpretive methods (IM)
  3. modeling methods (MM)
  4. experimental scientific methods (SM)
  5. social and cultural analysis (CA)
  6. experiencing the world (EW)
  7. understanding diversity at home (UD)
  8. ethics and social responsibility (ES)

Some of these categories represent “ways of knowing,” or the means by which we acquire and analyze information. In essence, they are geared toward developing your skills as a thinker. Other categories represent our goal of developing social awareness, attuning you to the ethical dimensions of interacting with others in society.

Interdisciplinary Requirement

The Urgent Challenges Curriculum culminates in an Urgent Challenges Interdisciplinary course in which you are able to put into practice the skills and knowledge you have acquired while completing the core curriculum.  Taught by two faculty members representing differing disciplines, you will have the opportunity to demonstrate your ability to recognize and integrate diverse viewpoints and potentially effect change.