Essential Questions

Essential Questions

The Essential Questions Seminar is signature feature of the Bridges Common Learning Experience (CLE). These smaller scale seminars are organized around an animating question. Some of the questions are essential because they articulate enduring human concerns. Some are essential because they raise timely issues of great import. And some are essential because they tap into your passions or excite your interest.

Essential Questions seminars awaken intellectual curiosity while acclimating you to habits of mind (i.e., persistence, metacognition, flexibility, openness) that are crucial to your success in college and your career readiness.

Sample EQs: #what'syourEQ?

Are Robots People?

What makes a person a person? Can robots be considered people too? This course explores the relationships among intelligence, bodies, biologically-generated emotions and self-awareness. We then consider how sentience might apply to different types of robots in real life and in tv/film.

Can we Talk?

We will develop conceptual and practical communication skills in contexts of daily living involving challenging conversations: When should we take a firm stand on a position and when should we remain silent? How do social media technologies inflame disagreement over differences? How can we take concerns of self and other into account when we disagree?

Are Dogs our Best Friends

We will explore the latest science on dog evolution, dog psychology, and the story of us -- the unique relationship between dogs and humans, to any level of dog enthusiast. We will learn about how and why humans bring wild animals into domestication, evolutionary theory, cognition and the theory of mind, and animal communication with a focus on faces. When you finish this course, you should think about dogs and humans in new ways and be able to apply your knowledge to higher level courses on biology, psychology, and anatomy.

Law + Morality = ?

Do law and morality go together like vinegar and ice cream? Both important, but best consumed apart? Or are they like milk and cookies? Both delightful on their own, but even better when consumed together? We will explore various conceptions of the relationship between of law and morality and think about how these conceptions inform (or misinform!) contemporary political and legal analyses.

What is Money?

You probably know that you want it, but do you really know what it is? Money is a mysterious thing: material, mathematical, social, and symbolic. It has intrigued thinkers, activists, and artists since the dawn of civilization. This course will introduce you to those traditions, including the work of philosophers, coin makers, economists, artists, and novelists who have grappled with the mystery of money. Through discussions, individual research, and other projects we explore what it means to have it.

Is God Good?

Why do human beings suffer? How do we make sense out of violence, trauma, and devastation of the natural world? What are human beings supposed to be doing with our lives and where can we find hope? Every major religion has addressed these questions. In this class, we are going to explore different ways in which Christianity has interpreted suffering and evil with an eye toward hope.

Do you Know the Real Africa?

How to know the real Africa? Our perceptions and knowledge of the continent has been largely accepted by us without critical engagement so we will engage in collaborative research, discussion, and presentations to call attention to the varying ways in which we perceive and can re/invent our knowledge of the continent.