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Thematic Encounter to Thematic Focus Transition Form

Thematic Focus (Learning Foundations or Learning Explorations is a prerequisite and Cultural and Social Difference: Identity is a pre- or co-requisite)

The Thematic Focus courses play a critical role in the Integrations Curriculum. These courses offer students a chance to explore and critically examine in depth a theme of their choosing.

While these 4-credit, 200- or 300-level courses can count toward the major, they have several obligations to the general education program. These courses are dedicated to a single theme, include a common reading on that theme, contribute to the Integrated Portfolio, and introduce students to the liberal arts and sciences goal of studying a diverse array of disciplinary approaches. They can be on any topic within one of the themes. Faculty who teach a Thematic Focus class on the same theme will be meeting to select a common reading for their themed classes and to discuss possible ways to maximize integration across sections. Faculty who teach Thematic Encounter courses will be encouraged to attend these discussions. In cases where these courses are team taught by two faculty members with different methodological approaches, they can count as two distinct Ways of Thinking.

Requirements: Assignments for assessment of Integrations Curriculum Learning Goals, use of the common reading, and introducing students to the liberal arts and sciences goal of studying a diverse array of disciplinary approaches.


This theme focuses on historical and contemporary social change, whether forms of oppression or advocacy for human dignity and inclusion. Courses might explore concepts of justice, or historical or contemporary calls for fair and equitable conditions, institutions and laws, or the fight for human rights and equality, or various policies and movements that have restricted the same.

This theme examines the interactions of ideas, people, energy, information, or matter as they flow from one location, literal or metaphorical, to another. This theme recognizes that movement can occur across conceptual, historical and stylistic boundaries, and that humans, other animals, and even the most basic components of our world move in one form or another, and often, from one form to another.

This theme examines what truth is, why it is valuable, how it shapes choices and our perceptions of ourselves and our world. This theme might explore efforts to discover and promote truth, or the ways in which lies, errors, biases, or faulty science subvert, obscure, and misidentify truth.


A single section of a course can only carry one theme.

In the Integrations Curriculum a course can be designated as either:

  1. A Way of Thinking, AND/OR
  2. Thematic Encounter or Thematic Focus OR
  3. CSD: Identity (CI) or CSD: Systems (CS), OR
  4. INTG 100: Learning Foundations (LF), INTG 205: Transfer Seminar, or INTG 300: Learning Integrations (LI), OR
  5. Theological Explorations (TE) or Theological Integrations (TI).

Any course carrying one of the above designations may also have one engagement^, (except for TE, CSD:I, LF, and LI, which cannot carry engagements):

  1. Artistic engagement (AR)
  2. Experiential engagement (EX)
  3. Global engagement (GL)

Any course may satisfy the Quantitative Reasoning (QR) skill requirement.

Any course (except courses that fulfill Theological Explorations, Theological Integrations, Learning Foundations, or any course with a THEO course number) may also satisfy the Benedictine Raven (BN).

Any 2xx or 3xx, 4-credit course (except for INTG 100, CSD:I, INTG 105: College Success, and INTG 300 Learning Integrations) may satisfy the Writing Skill (WR) requirement.**

*Thematic Focus courses have the option to be renumbered based on theme and course level to be consistent across the curriculum. They will still carry the Department prefix.

The renumbering will be as follows:

277/377 - Justice Theme
278/378 - Movement Theme
279/379 - Truth Theme

Each course under the Theme will have a different letter, for example: 

HIST 276B, etc.

^Semester-length study abroad courses may carry both GL and EX.

A single section of a course can only carry one theme.

Learning Goals

Analyzing Texts - Intermediate

Students evaluate texts for significance, relevance to the students’ goals, and make connections among texts and/or disciplines. 

Collaboration - Intermediate

Students use group roles effectively, build constructively on the work of others, incorporate multiple perspectives into the work of the group, and produce independent work that advances the project. 

Information Literacy  - Intermediate

Students locate relevant information using well-designed search strategies, evaluate and use appropriate and multiple resources, and articulate why using information has many ethical and legal implications.



Please note:

A.  The committee understands that some courses may still be in development. Prompts that ask for examples of assignments seek information about the spirit of what students will do and instructors are not bound to the specific details (e.g. writing prompts) provided.

B.  The committee includes faculty from a variety of disciplines. Please remember to briefly explain disciplinary terms, contexts, and/or texts to allow all the members of the committee to best understand how your responses address the question.

C.  As you are answering these questions, please keep in mind that students will need to produce work to assess their fulfillment of the related learning outcomes if applicable.

Analyzing Texts--Intermediate


Information Literacy--Intermediate

Common Reading

Thematic Focus courses must include a common reading on the theme. This common reading is selected at a meeting of instructors teaching thematic focus courses in the next academic year. The purpose of the common reading is to provide all students studying a theme with a shared understanding of an aspect of the theme which then can be explored from a variety of Ways of Thinking.