Skip to main content

Thirteen University Courses in 2012-13 to promote common experience for students

Next academic year, Cornell will offer 13 University Courses designed to teach students to think from the perspectives of multiple disciplines, across departments and among diverse fields of study.

The courses will be mostly team taught by distinguished faculty members. All University Courses foster intellectual discovery, promote debate and address complex issues. Students from all colleges are welcome to register for these courses during the normal preregistration periods. None have prerequisites, and normal class limits apply if oversubscribed. Students may need to use elective credits for some of the courses, depending on their distribution requirements.

Laura Brown

Six University Courses were offered this academic year, which was the program's inaugural year. The initiative was developed to give students a common experience and to "provide students with an experience of Cornell as 'one university,'" said Laura Brown, vice provost for undergraduate education and the John Wendell Anderson Professor of English at Cornell.

The courses are also intended to instill "within students the distinctive character of Cornell: the intersection of diverse modes of academic pursuit and intellectual inquiry -- specifically basic and applied knowledge," Brown said.

Furthermore, Brown said, the initiative gives students opportunities to engage in cross-disciplinary study "through examples of intersections, disjunctions or creative tensions among disciplines, model processes of intellectual discovery and critical thinking."

The fall University Courses will be:

  • The Art of Horticulture, taught by Marcia Eames-Sheavly;
  • Hip-Hop: Rhythm, Words and Life, taught by Steve Pond, Lyrae Van Clief Stefanon and Travis Gosa;
  • History of Exploration: Land, Sea and Space, taught by Mary Beth Norton and Steve Squyres;
  • Humans and Climate Change (a new course), taught by Karen Pinkus and Natalie Mahowald;
  • Networks, taught by Jon Kleinberg and Eva Tardos;
  • Six Pretty Good Books: Explorations in Social Science, taught by Steve Ceci and Michael Macy; and
  • The Science of Social Behavior (a companion course to Six Pretty Good Books), taught by Ceci and Macy.


Media Contact

Syl Kacapyr