CIE for Staff

The CIE experience will be offered to Staff in Spring 2014! 

As presented at the December Staff Assembly Meeting, Staff will now have the opportunity to participate in the CIE experience.  The funding of this project has been approved by CPPC to support progress towards the implementation of the Strategic Plan. 

The Common Intellectual Experience – or CIE –  is a two-semester course for all first year students that brings academic inquiry to bear on the central questions of a liberal education. These are: 

  • What does it mean to be human?
  • How should we live our lives?
  • What is the universe and how do we fit into it? 

Throughout the year, CIE students engage their professors and each other in conversation about a set of works drawn from diverse historical contexts, cultures and beliefs. The texts are selected by the faculty from all disciplines working together to create a common syllabus, and they are not ones that you would normally find in one discipline-specific course, like Bio 101 or World Religions. But when read together, they prompt thoughtful examination of the central CIE questions. Students and faculty engage with the texts through conversation and discussion, with  the aim of accomplishing these goals: the cultivation of the self-knowledge necessary to live a considered, independent, and responsible life; and the establishment of an intellectual community enjoyed by students and faculty alike. 

Now we have an opportunity to offer the CIE experience to staff in a way that’s never been done before. While we won’t be able to do a full semester (at least not yet!), the goal is to bring together personnel across campus to discuss one text from the current CIE 200 syllabus in order to generate intellectual conversation within the context of the three main CIE questions – though of course we can go beyond those too!

Diane Skorina, Reference & Instruction Librarian, has been asked to facilitate the sessions that will take place this Spring. Diane has taught CIE for 2 years now, and just finished a wonderful semester of CIE 100 with a very talented group of 14 first-year students. This coming semester, Spring 2014, will be her third time teaching CIE 200. She loves working with the students, but is looking forward to having these discussion with people at different stages of their lives. Diane offers three suggestions for the Spring discussion group: 

The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander, about the racial implications of the War on Drugs and the resulting mass incarceration of African-American men. 

Excerpts from Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman, a book which suggests that two systems drive the way we think – a fast, intuitive and emotional system and a slower, more deliberative and logical system. 

The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid, a novel about a young Pakistani man in America when the Twin Towers fell on September 11.                                                                                   

If you are interested in participating, please send an e-mail Valerie Nelson by February 15 at vnelson@ursinus.edu.  We are planning to have at least two discussions, likely in the month of April.  Once a list is assembled of all interested staff, an opportunity to vote on the text you would most like to discuss and the dates to meet will be sent.  Through CPPC approval for funding, we will work with the bookstore to provide the selected text for participants and provide refreshments at our gatherings. 

Staff Assembly Community Relations Committee (Logan Duffie, Charlene Wysocki, Ann Breen, Cathy Bogusky, Valerie Nelson)