Jewell's Unique Core Curriculum

The foundation of our approach to critical thinking and inquiry

Live With Purpose


We aim to prepare you to be both successful and reflective citizens of a global community. Our academic Core Curriculum moves through three levels and roughly 35 credit hours, seeking to equip you with the vast critical thinking and leadership skills necessary to make a difference. Important questions are imbedded within our courses throughout the Core and provide a unifying theme for inquiry: What is real? What can we know? How should we live?

Three Levels, One End Goal

Critical Thought and Inquiry offers a learning experience that builds through three stages, each designed to equip you to become a world citizen and leader in the 21st century:

  • Introductory Level: The introductory level, beginning with The Responsible Self, a humanities-based course, as well as courses in written communication and mathematics, will help you transition from high school to college learning.
  • Second Level: The second level offers a variety of interdisciplinary courses grouped around four topic areas: Culture and Traditions; Science, Technology and the Human Experience; Power and Justice; and Sacred and Secular. In these courses, you will learn how to fill in the gaps between academic disciplines, a necessary practice in our ever-changing world.
  • Capstone Level: Finally, the capstone course addresses complex, real-world issues. You will learn to apply analytical thinking skills, building the bridge between your new knowledge and academic area of interest.

“CTI courses don’t necessarily prescribe how you read the texts. Instead, they raise various questions about the text we are reading and ask you to figure out for yourself how you think they are important, not only your course of study but for your place in the world.”

Tavarus Pennington, English and communication major and nationally ranked debater

Blog: Understanding College Curriculum and the Liberal Arts

  • What You Learn in College

    College Curriculum

    College is a time for personal discovery outside your degree. The things you learn in college go far beyond what you’ll find in a textbook. It’s not just a matter of engaging you in the classroom but also following your passions. That’s why the academic core curriculum at William Jewell prioritizes the development of your critical thinking and leadership skills. Our goal is to prepare you to be both a successful and reflective citizen of a global community.

    The ability to think critically about the challenges you face in your life, be it academically, professionally or personally, is an invaluable skill. By providing the structure to support your intellectual and personal development, we support your growth as an entire person. You deserve a college experience that equips you to engage actively in the world and remain a conscientious member of society. That end result, becoming an active global citizen, is insufficiently prioritized across undergraduate education but recognized and fostered here at William Jewell.

    As you pursue your degree, you will begin to find answers to more significant questions. Namely: Who am I? What do I care about? What are my values? These questions don’t have easy answers, and Jewell cannot answer them for you. The conclusions you come to all boil down to what you learn at college outside the classroom. No college curriculum can teach you who you are, but we can help you find those answers for yourself.

    Learning Starts With You

    Personal discovery and learning can only happen when you commit to a dynamic and engaging environment. One of the critical facets of growing as a student and a young adult is learning to take charge of your own education. That’s what we foster here at Jewell—your independence.

    College can be an incredibly formative time in your life. This blog outlines the skills you will learn as you develop in college, how they will help you succeed and why that growth matters. Jewell is here to make sure that development empowers you. 

    So, what will you learn?

    You’ll learn to take charge of your own learning
    College places you in situations where the answers don’t always come easily. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to take your learning into your own hands. From pursuing coursework you are passionate about to engaging in clubs and extracurricular activities, you will have the opportunity to shape the academic, personal and interpersonal education you receive. This self-driven learning will help you acquire the skills you need to turn your dreams into reality.

    You’ll learn to improve at time management
    Juggling school, extracurriculars and your personal life isn’t easy. College life is a crash course in efficient time management.

    You’ll learn to navigate challenging conversations
    Your college career will be ripe with interactions with others, from professors and teammates on a group project to supervisors at an internship. The college environment can help you learn to navigate relationships, resolve conflicts and engage in civil discourse with those who have different perspectives. 

    William Jewell works hard to provide you and your fellow students with the ability to integrate new perspectives and think critically. This helps you meaningfully assess and explore broad philosophical topics and complex information, but it also empowers you to better express yourself and resolve uncertainty compassionately and effectively. Being an engaged global citizen will often entail exchanging ideas and disagreeing with others. You must be able to do so respectfully and effectively, and that’s precisely what Jewell can help you learn to do.

    You’ll learn perseverance
    College won’t always be easy. From challenging courses to social stress, there will likely be times you feel like giving up. For our students with nontraditional academic trajectories, this can be even harder. A college community can provide you with the resources, friends and structure you need to keep going. Completion of a college degree goes beyond just fulfilling your curriculum requirements. It’s also a forum to discover what you care about and learn how to work through stress and difficulties towards your goal. William Jewell works to provide an academic environment where comprehensive growth is encouraged. Part of this support centers on empowering you to overcome obstacles and persevere.

    You’ll learn how to ask for help
    Taking ownership of your own education doesn’t mean you’ll be alone through your college journey. Professors, classmates, friends and family are all there to support you when you need it. In addition, there are a wide variety of academic support systems to empower your success. You have access to free tutoring, supplemental academic enrichment sessions, and the college’s Student Success Center to provide the skills and resources necessary to meet your learning needs. At William Jewell, you’ll never be left behind.

    Contrary to what you may think, asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness. It means you know how to find the support you need without burning yourself out—a skill that will come in handy throughout your professional career.

    You’ll learn how to work with integrity
    College is full of opportunities to meet the challenges of your life with integrity and to strengthen your values. After all, furthering your education may test your limits as a creative thinker and active participant. As a result, there may come a time when you feel the temptation to cheat or take shortcuts in your coursework.

    If you choose to attend William Jewell College, we expect you to adhere to the highest standards of academic integrity and individual conduct detailed in our Honor Code. Your commitment to our honor code underscores a commitment to Achievement, Leadership, Respect, Responsibility and Service. These commitments convey how students like you can ensure their peers live responsibly in the community.

    Our College Curriculum Hones Critical Skills for Success

    College may give you the knowledge to take the next step on your career path, but don’t underestimate the valuable life lessons you’ll learn while you’re there. More than ever, we need employees, leaders and engaged thinkers who approach the challenges of their profession and this world with creativity and confidence. That is precisely the skillset Jewell’s curriculum works to empower you with.

    At William Jewell College, we recognize that providing an affordable and high-quality education is an investment in the wholeness of our students. It’s not simply a matter of preparing you to come away with an industry-specific skill set, which we will still enable you to do. Instead, we’re interested in creating an environment where you can transform that comprehension into a critical analysis of the world around you. How do we do this? We encourage you to ask big questions.

    What is real? What can we know? How should we live? These questions color our approach to education and to creating an environment where you can become your most passionate self.

    From critical thinking and deductive reasoning to effective business communication, William Jewell College will provide you with the tools to succeed in any of the jobs you may have over your lifetime.

    These tools include:

    Critical Thinking
    The most significant benefit of the college curriculum offered by William Jewell is that you can translate what you’ve studied into anything you pursue. You will learn how to approach problems, assess needs, think abstractly and ask meaningful questions. These capabilities are in high demand from employers, who often find these assets challenging to teach and invaluable long term. After all, no work is genuinely one-dimensional. At any given time, a task may require cross-functional collaboration, independent problem-solving and analysis, effective communication with different stakeholder groups and more. None of these abilities are easily measurable through numbers and programs. They require you to adapt, think analytically and apply logic to situations you may have never encountered before. The ability to do these things makes you an asset.

    Our academic core curriculum moves through three levels and roughly 35 credit hours, seeking to equip you with the vast critical thinking skills necessary to make a difference.

    Creativity
    Innovative and dynamic ideas aren’t easy to come by. They require being able to see a problem in a new way. After all, creativity shapes the way you approach problems. That’s why we teach Jewell students like you how to foster your creativity and instincts for exploration. However, exploring new ideas and learning how to express yourself differently will make you more creative. Much like critical thinking, creativity is an essential component of problem-solving. After all, it’s one thing to recognize there’s a problem, and it’s another thing entirely to devise a new solution. These skills make a creative mind an asset in every industry.

    With majors in Philosophy, Applied Critical Thought and Inquiry, English, Music and Theatre, William Jewell College understands the importance of creating ways to express yourself and think about the world. Our students are encouraged to pursue their passions and explore new creative opportunities.

    Perspective
    Our college curriculum offers the unique academic opportunity to broaden your horizons by introducing you to concepts and people across the globe. The variety of courses allows you to learn about a wide range of ideas, which will help you discover your interests, strengths and potential career paths. Our cultural and philosophical coursework isn’t simply a matter of comparing notes—it’s all about meaningfully approaching and understanding the philosophies and thinking of other people and cultures. You will explore different mindsets, cultures and human experiences that can broaden your worldview and provide valuable insight into other businesses and professional environments.

    If you want a global perspective, start in the classroom, then go live your learning out in the world. Through programs such as study abroad and Journey Grants, William Jewell will help you pursue your global educational interests and broaden your perspective.

    Flexible Professional Soft Skills
    As you grow and evolve in college, you may find that what you want to pursue career-wise shifts. The William Jewell College curriculum allows you to keep your career options open, as you will be taught a variety of non-static skills rather than just one specific skill set. This will enable you to transfer the skills you learn at college to any work you pursue. 

    The range of topics and methods covered by your education makes you fundamentally flexible, interdisciplinary and adaptable to a changing environment or needs. Best of all, you will cultivate this experience while still learning the specific skills necessary to thrive in your chosen field.

    While your academic and personal growth at college will provide you with various invaluable experiences, some skills learned at college will help you stand out professionally. Here are three critical professional skills you’ll learn at William Jewell College, both through our curriculum and the environment of growth that we foster:

    1. Leadership
      Leadership ability is a broad skill set, encompassing many skills but centering on bringing people together. Learning to engage with others while guiding them and making decisions is critical for Jewell students. An appreciation for different points of view and a willingness to incorporate new ideas exist at the core of this exercise.
       
    2. Communication
      Communication is an important skill heavily emphasized in a liberal arts education. Whether you are listening, clearly stating your opinion, asking questions for clarification, providing constructive criticism or sending emails, your ability to express yourself defines how others see you. Perhaps just as important, it also dictates how effectively you work with other professionals.
       
    3. Work Ethic
      Some companies look for dedicated and hardworking individuals when hiring for new positions. A good work ethic can help you find a job and support your career advancement. One benefit of a liberal arts education is that it teaches you how to work hard. Your coursework isn’t always straightforward. It frequently requires deep analysis and rigorous thought and effort. Though not always easy, it will teach you how to actively engage in a professional environment.

    Honing soft skills isn’t just about working in the classroom. We offer various programs that reflect this understanding. Whatever your interests may be, we’re here to help you grow. 

    William Jewell College is committed to your growth!

    At William Jewell College, we educate our community to ask reflective questions, apply critical thought and act with purpose. That commitment is why we provide you with a world-class liberal arts education. Our goal is to prepare you to be both a successful and reflective citizen of a global community.

    At every step of your undergraduate experience, William Jewell is here to facilitate your growth as a critical thinker and a global citizen.

    Interested in the college curriculum here at William Jewell? You can explore our website or contact the Office of Admission to learn more, schedule a visit or apply!

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  • What Are the Benefits of a Liberal Arts Education?

    No matter your chosen career or professional interests, the intellectual fundamentals of a liberal arts education will help you build the essential skills necessary to succeed in today’s modern workplace. We need employees, leaders and engaged thinkers who approach the challenges of their profession and this world with creativity and confidence. That is precisely what an education from William Jewell College provides.

    The liberal arts education provided by our programs and our Critical Thought and Inquiry Core Curriculum allows you to translate the skills you develop at college into work anywhere. While highly-specialized degrees provide the tools for success in a particular field, a degree from William Jewell will provide those fundamentals while also encouraging broader analysis and critical thinking. From creative problem solving and deductive reasoning to effective business communication, a liberal arts education, like the kind you will receive here at Jewell, will provide you the tools to succeed wherever you apply yourself.

    At William Jewell College, we recognize that a liberal arts education is an investment in the wholeness of our students. That is why our core curriculum prioritizes training your creative and critical thinking skills in a focused, engaging environment. We aim to prepare you to be both a successful and reflective citizen of a global community. What is real? What can we know? How should we live? These questions color our approach to education and to creating an environment where you can become your most passionate self.

    So, you may be curious, precisely what are the benefits of a liberal arts education? A better question is, what are the benefits of an education from William Jewell College? Well, we’re happy you asked.

    Honed Critical Thinking

    The most significant benefit of a degree from William Jewell is that you can translate what you’ve studied into anything you pursue. Any major at Jewell will help you learn how to approach problems, assess needs, think abstractly and ask meaningful questions. While our model draws from the core tenets of a classical liberal arts education, we reframe our degrees and course work to engage you critically no matter the degree you pursue. This makes us unique in the academic world. 

    The skills you pick up while pursuing a liberal arts education at William Jewell are in high demand from employers. Critical analysis, long-term planning, creative problem solving—these assets are challenging to teach new hires and invaluable long term. After all, no work is truly one-dimensional. 

    Beyond employee retention, statistics suggest that new students are likely to work in a wide variety of jobs and careers throughout their life. Studies have estimated most new students like you will hold roughly 18 jobs across six careers. A narrow education experience just won’t cut it when you’re likely to need versatile skills to succeed in your professional future. It’s crucial that you be able to adapt, think analytically and apply logic to situations you may have never encountered before. These skills, all gained through your academic journey at William Jewell, make you an asset.

    At William Jewell, our core curriculum helps you bridge the gap from high school to college, exploring topics such as culture and traditions; science, technology and the human experience; power and justice; and sacred and secular; followed by an in-depth capstone course. In fact, our core delves so deeply into critical thinking that you can add an experience component and make it a second major.

    Greater Creativity

    Second only to improving your capacity for analytical reasoning, a student-centric liberal arts education like the kind offered by Jewell provides the tools to enhance your creativity. This may, at first, seem overly abstract. However, exploring new ideas and learning how to express yourself in different ways will make you more creative. It allows you to think outside the box and bring innovative solutions to the table. Much like critical thinking, creativity is an essential component of problem-solving. After all, it’s one thing to recognize there’s a problem, and it’s another thing entirely to devise a new solution. These skills make a creative mind an asset in every industry.

    With majors in Philosophy, Applied Critical Thought and Inquiry, English, Psychological ScienceMusic and Theatre,, William Jewell College understands the importance of creating ways to express yourself and think about the world. Our students are encouraged to pursue their passions and explore new creative opportunities.

    A Diverse Perspective

    A focused, analytical education like the kind found here at Jewell offers the unique academic opportunity to broaden your horizons by introducing you to concepts and people worldwide. This study isn’t simply a matter of comparing notes, but meaningfully approaching and understanding the philosophies and thinking of other people and cultures. The variety of subjects you will be exposed to allows you to learn about a wide range of ideas, which will better help you discover your interests, strengths and potential career paths. This can be perfect for our global economy. You will explore different philosophies, cultures and human experiences that can broaden your worldview and provide valuable insight into other businesses and professional environments.

    If you want a global perspective, start in the classroom, then go live your learning out in the world. Through programs such as study abroad and Journey Grants, William Jewell will help you pursue your global educational interests and broaden your perspective.

    Flexible Professional Soft Skills

    As you grow and evolve, you may find that what you want to pursue career-wise shifts. A William Jewell education allows you to keep your career options open, as you will be taught a variety of non-static skills rather than just one specific skill set. Even when you pursue a specialized STEM degree with us, you will be able to transfer the skills you learn at college to any work you pursue. The range of topics and methods covered by your liberal arts curriculum makes you fundamentally flexible, interdisciplinary and adaptable in a changing environment. 

    There are three core skills you’ll learn studying here at William Jewell College:

    1. Leadership
      Leadership is a broad skill set, encompassing many skills but centering on bringing people together. Learning to engage with others while guiding them and making decisions is a critical part of the liberal arts experience. An appreciation for different points of view and a willingness to incorporate new ideas exist at the core of this exercise.
    2. Communication
      Communication is an important skill heavily emphasized in a liberal arts education. Whether you are listening, clearly stating your opinion, asking questions for clarification, providing constructive criticism or sending emails, your ability to express yourself defines how others see you. Perhaps just as important, it also dictates how effectively you work with other professionals.
    3. Work Ethic
      Some companies look for dedicated and hardworking individuals when hiring for new positions. A good work ethic can help you find a job and support your career advancement. One benefit of a liberal arts education is that it teaches you how to work hard. Your coursework isn’t always straightforward. It frequently requires deep analysis and rigorous thought and effort. Though not always easy, it will teach you how to actively engage in a professional environment.

    Honing soft skills isn’t just about working in the classroom. We offer various programs that reflect this understanding. Pursue an internship with our community partners. Whatever your interests may be, we’re here to help you grow. 

    William Jewell College is committed to your growth!

    At William Jewell College, we educate our community to ask reflective questions, apply critical thought and act with purpose. That commitment is why we provide you with a world-class liberal arts education. Our goal is to prepare you to be both successful and reflective citizens of a global community.

    At every step of your undergraduate experience, William Jewell is here to facilitate your growth. Interested in the benefits of a liberal arts education? You can visit our website or contact the Office of Admission to learn more!

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  • Live with Purpose

    A closer look at the core curriculum courses

    It is our goal to prepare you to be both successful and reflective citizens of a global community. It’s not just a matter of engaging you in the classroom but also supporting you in your passions and personal discovery outside your degree. That’s why the core curriculum at William Jewell prioritizes the development of your critical thinking and leadership skills.

    The ability to think critically about the challenges you face in your life, be it academically, professionally or personally, is an invaluable skill. You deserve a college experience that equips you to engage actively in the world and remain a conscientious member of society—an experience that is insufficiently prioritized at most undergraduate institutions. But providing the structure to support your intellectual and personal development remains a priority at Jewell.

    As you pursue your degree, our university curriculum will assist you in mastering your academic material while developing a deeper and more complex understanding of your subject of study. We don’t just teach to the test—we teach to you. Our focus is our students, and that’s why your Jewell education will center around creating the learning environment you need to thrive in college and continue to develop as an individual and an engaged citizen.

    Core Curriculum: Three Levels, One End Goal

    Our academic core curriculum moves through three levels and roughly 35 credit hours, seeking to equip you with the vast critical thinking skills necessary to make a difference. Essential questions are embedded in our courses and provide a series of unifying themes: What is real? What can we know? How should we live?

    These underpinning questions are integral to your growth at Jewell, regardless of your field of study. They remain so critical because they encourage not only authentic engagement but also courageous citizenship and innovative thought. By actively engaging with our values, our college curriculum works to provide the building blocks of a more holistic collegiate experience. These are tools necessary to involve yourself as a dynamic global citizen both in and outside of college.

    Our Critical Thought and Inquiry Core Curriculum provides students with a learning experience that builds through three stages. Each of these stages is designed to emphasize different skills and then provide you with the resources necessary to excel in that area. 

    This student-focused approach first sets you up for success and then progressively equips you to become a more driven world citizen and leader. The challenges of the 21st century require novel, dynamic and considered solutions. 

    Introductory Level

    The introductory level, beginning with a humanities, written communication and mathematics course, will help you transition from high school to college.

    Many students exit high school lacking the fundamental skills necessary to succeed in a high-pressure academic and creative environment. Our introductory courses will help lay the groundwork for academic fundamentals but also introduce you to the subject material itself. That way, all students enter their journey at Jewell with the same necessary skills, building blocks and informational resources.

    Beyond this, it introduces the philosophical subtext of the personal exploration we encourage at William Jewell. We want you to think about answers to these questions as you begin your journey with us. Your thoughts, feelings and perspective will change with exposure to new concepts and world views and help develop a deeper appreciation for your growth’s spiritual and philosophical underpinning at William Jewell.

    • The Responsible Self
      This is a humanities-based, introductory course required of all students in their first year of study at the College. The organizing questions of the course are those of epistemology, ontology and ethics: What can we know? What is real? How should we live? Students will wrestle with these questions from several distinct cultural and ideological perspectives.
       
    • Written Communication
      This course develops student skills in academic writing, including research skills and critical use of sources in argumentation. Through writing and revising, you will explore the role of audience and context in shaping written communication and learn to demonstrate logical reasoning, adequate factual support, clarity and appropriate language choices.
       
    • Math for the Liberal Arts
      This course helps you apply fundamental mathematical techniques (including algebraic and statistical techniques) and abstract concepts to practical, real-life situations. The course will include finite mathematics, statistics and other selected topics that may involve the following: voting theory; apportionment; graph theory; circuits and networking; population models; geometry and fractals; and probability theory.
       
    • Identity and Society
      Identity and Society is an introductory course on interacting with others through creating and perceiving personal identities. You will reflect on how you enact your own ideological, cultural and contextual assumptions regarding their relational perceptions of self and others while learning how to engage in constructive, authentic communication.
    Second Level

    The courses at Level II are interdisciplinary and encourage learning about relevant questions that transcend disciplinary boundaries. No matter the subject of study, broader existential questions about the nature of humanity and their role within our global society prove a valuable vehicle for critical analysis. 

    Posing these questions provides young critical thinkers at William Jewell College with tools vital for active citizenship within our society. This provides you with the platform to meaningfully learn and grow as a thinker and engaged observer of the world around you. To be engaged, to be committed, to be leaders of thought all require looking at various subjects from numerous different perspectives.

    The second level offers a variety of interdisciplinary courses grouped around four topic areas that teach you how to fill in the gaps between academic disciplines, a necessary practice in our ever-changing world: 

    • Culture and Traditions
      Culture and Traditions courses explore unique and dynamic worldly perspectives, introducing you to topics and philosophies that differ from your own. While there is an emphasis on critical thinking and analysis of these perspectives and traditions, the goal is to provide you with the opportunity to explore a world outside your own. By engaging with societies whose opinions and developments are distinct from your traditions and culture, William Jewell works to provide you with a comprehensive exploration of how to engage with others.
       
    • Power and Justice
      Power and Justice will provide a vehicle for you to analyze the social and political landscape of cultural dynamics. As society has changed, so, too, has there been nuanced development in the place people find for themselves within our culture and political discourse. This category of courses provides an analytical forum for you to explore concepts of power and the moral imperative that exists alongside changing social dynamics. What is justice? What is right and wrong? Who decides who has power? These questions are more pertinent than ever and serve as core pillars of exploration for level two within our college curriculum.
       
    • Sacred and Secular
      Courses that touch upon the Sacred and Secular discuss themes of religious exploration, spirituality and the cultural divisions that naturally form around faith and interpersonal or political engagement. You will explore the meaning of religion in your life and how religious philosophies and institutions have shaped our society, media, cultural dialogue and the world. Beyond that, you will explore how you as an individual interface in a world divided along the lines of secularity and faith.
       
    • Science, Technology and the Human Experience
      You will explore the evolution of scientific practice and theory and its impact on the world and human experience. From conversations about the advancement of medicine to the discussion of social media and technological development, these courses touch upon hot-button topics that shape the current social landscape. You will have the opportunity to analyze how being a person and an engaged citizen is different now due to changing technology and what that means for the future of human civilization and philosophy.
    Capstone Level

    Finally, the capstone course addresses complex, real-world issues through a four-hour course.

     

    At every step of your undergraduate experience, William Jewell is here to facilitate your growth as a critical thinker and a global citizen. Interested in the curriculum here at William Jewell College? You can further explore our website or contact the Office of Admission to learn more.

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