The University Perspectives course is required for students in programs in Arts and Sciences (ARSC), Teacher Education (EDUC), Agriculture, Food and Life Sciences (AFLS), and Architecture (ARCH). The course is a first-year seminar designed to equip students with tools needed for social and academic success at the University of Arkansas. This seminar uses intellectual virtues as a framework to discuss and develop these tools. Individual sections will apply the intellectual virtues to various topics and academic disciplines according to the expertise of each instructor.
Students will forge positive relationships with faculty and staﬀ committed to ﬁrst-year student success and meet other ﬁrst year students in a typically smaller environment than a lot of other ﬁrst semester courses.
The course utilizes group work, heavy discussion, and experiential learning to allow students to connect with one another.
Intellectual courage helps students bring their full self to both academic and social spaces. It encourages them to say, “What about this?” or “I don’t understand that.” It is often the impetus of new research questions or brave artistic expression. Courage is often most easily exercised when students feel a sense of belonging in the classroom and on campus.
Intellectual perseverance helps us continue amid difficult content, fatigue, or stress. It helps students to remember the benefits of education, relationships, and work. Perseverance pushes through that last algebra problem; perseverance decides that going to class on a rainy Monday has value.
Intellectual carefulness ensures the highest quality work. It is the ability to discern what subjects require exact answers and which subjects are more nuanced. Carefulness prompts us to look at all sides of an issue with equity and encourages us to “show our work” no matter the task.
Intellectual honesty demands that our work is our own. It helps us own up to not doing the reading for class, and it reminds us to adequately cite someone else’s work in our essays. Honesty makes us thorough learners and good colleagues who honor the good work of others.
Intellectual curiosity opens us up to see the world and ourselves in new ways. It pushes against assumptions and ingrained patterns and slows us down to wonder and be mindful. Being curious often leads to epiphanies in scholarship or deeper understanding of ourselves or others.
Intellectual fair-mindedness helps us understand and gain empathy for opinions and experiences that differ from our own. It reminds us that hearing from different perspectives can strengthen our scholarship, help us to see the world more fully, and allow our dialogues to be more constructive both inside and outside the classroom.
Intellectual humility helps us assess our strengths and weaknesses accurately. Knowing how we are naturally gifted and what we can get better at through hard work helps us know how we can best contribute to research and scholarship, our future careers, and society at-large.
In this class, we will work together to create a learning community that promotes academic and social thriving for all. Differences in race, culture, age, religion, sexual orientation, socioeconomic background, and myriad other social identities and life experiences are represented in this space. We will aim to encourage and appreciate expressions of different ideas, perspectives, and beliefs, so that our conversations are not only constructive but also make us better humans in some small way.
To be successful, we must come to this space with open curiosity and fair-mindedness toward other people and their ideas and experiences. We must commit to respecting what others say and their right to say it, but we also must commit to believing this space has something for each of us. Fueled by that belief, we will exercise courage in speaking up and humility in listening well. We will persevere when conversations feel hard, and we will be careful with our questions and honest with our answers. We will be curious with each other, guided by an underpinning of generosity and hospitality. These commitments will shape our behaviors in the classroom. These commitments will also give us a chance at creating a community that works for the social and academic flourishing of all students and to further define what it means to be a Razorback.
- Social Confidence – Support students in the transition to undergraduate life on the University of Arkansas campus.
- Academic Confidence – Equip students for academic success at the University of Arkansas.
- Belonging – Foster spaces of belonging for all first-year students at the University of Arkansas
- Read, write, and speak more comfortably in social and academic settings.
- Effectively listen and engage with the thoughts and opinions of people who are different from you in some way.
- Identify intellectual virtues and apply them in both social and academic settings.
- Identify and develop personal and academic practices to aid in student success (time management, holistic wellness, vocational discernment).
- Identify potential spaces of belonging on campus (RSOs, undergraduate research, study abroad, service learning).
- Identify and locate the resources available to you on campus (CORD, Library, CAPS, Financial Aid, etc.).
- Use University technology effectively and efficiently (Blackboard, UAConnect, Outlook, etc.).