Professor Volkmer holding class outside.

What is CIE?

A two-semester course for all first year students that brings academic inquiry to bear on the central questions of a liberal education: What should matter to me? How should we live together? How can we understand the world? What will I do?

Students engage in conversation about a common set of works drawn from diverse historical contexts, cultures and beliefs, selected to prompt thoughtful examination of the central questions of the course.  Through this conversation the course accomplishes its goals:

  • to cultivate the self-knowledge necessary to live a considered, independent, and responsible life.
  • to establish an intellectual community enjoyed by students and faculty alike. 

The course fosters the essential skills of critical reading, careful interpretation, effective discussion, clear writing, and the use of evidence to construct a compelling argument.

Quick Facts:

  • Enrollment in CIE classes is limited to 16 students to provide an atmosphere conducive to intellectual challenge and discovery.
  • CIE engages students and faculty from all disciplines.
  • A shared syllabus, and the occasional gathering of the entire class for common events allows students to confront as a community the enduring issues of our existence.