Integrated Seminar 101 Section 3
1. Know the seminar landscape and destination, and the means of traveling to our summit:
Pilgrimage Landscape (the larger context):
A. A Broad, Liberal General Education - What is an educated person?
B. ISEM 101 and General Education
Pilgrimage Destination (seminar learning goals):
A. Learning Outcomes
Pilgrimage Means (seminar learning activities):
A. Assessing the Growth of the Neophytes (three exams - 45%)
B. Class Pilgrimages (class discussion and reflective writes - 15%)
C. Family Quest (group participatory paper - 40%)
D. Common Read Passage (individual response essay - 10 extra credit points)
E. Grading Rubric (assessing our progress)
F. Resources (help is on the way)
2. Give it your "best effort"
Approaching and executing each task to the fullest extent of your own skills and competencies, acknowledging that each of us comes to these tasks with varying levels of skills and competencies.
And then realizing that when your current level of skills and competencies may be deficient or inadequate, be willing to grow, take risks and learn.
Ask help from the instructor. Ask help from our fellow "family members."
Showing up and attending the pilgrimage in the first place - attending class sessions, regularly-held family meetings, and doing all the assignments. And critically, show up attentive and prepared to contribute to the seminar. Have the assignments read before class. Scheduling and attending out-of-class family group meetings and assignments is part of your pilgrimage and attendance is required, not optional. To successfully engage the tasks of this course, attendance at all these class-related sessions is critical. If you can not attend a session, please notify the instructor before your absence, if at all possible. And of course no sleeping during class; it will be marked as an absence. Repeated absences will render you as "rocks" and rocks will lower your grade.
During class, you need to focus on the materials presented. Take great notes. Your notes maybe periodically collected and reviewed, and returned
Avoid distractions and "in-class absences." No cell phone use or text messaging. No use of headsets, I-pods, MP3 players. No use of laptop computers. If used during class, you will be marked a "rock," and thus absent.
And taking responsibility for your actions and efforts.
No whining, no frivolous excuses, and no scapegoating ("it was my computer!").
3. Only honestly will get you to your destination; Shortcuts will only get you de-railed:
Adhere to the highest academic standards of honesty and integrity.
No cheating, no plagiarism. Plagiarism the passing off someone else's work as your own, without citing the source. This includes direct copying, rephrasing, and summarizing, as well as taking someone else's idea and putting it in different words.
See the Academic Honesty Student Policy http://www.uidaho.edu/DOS/judicialaffairs/studentcodeofconduct/articleii
4. Pursue an academic, rather than a theological quest:
A partisan approach, advocating a particular path to the Truth, in order to realize that Truth within yourself.
A theological approach can be based upon a rigorous systematic methodology of interpretation and knowing. The epistemology basis of this methodology and of knowing the Truth can be literal, metaphoric and/or anagogic in nature, as exemplified in "literalism," or "faith." Consider the Jewish midrash (both halakah and hagadah) or Islamic tafsir interpretative methods as examples of systematic theological approaches.
The ultimate goal of a theological interpretation is to strengthen one's own personal relationship with the divine.
One way to think about a theological approach would be to consider the metaphor of "a guide and a roadmap." In this example, you are traveling a particular territory, a spiritual territory, on the roadmap. There are certainly many paths, many religions to consider. But you have selected one particular path, one particular religion, and have placed your entire commitment in a particular guide (specific religious text, a priest, rabbi, mullah, or medicine man, etc.) to keep you on the path, a guide who will help you reach your destination safely and fully (be it Christian salvation, Hindu moksha, Buddhist nirvana, etc.). You have committed all of your heart and all action to this particular guide, to this particular path, and to this particular destination on the roadmap.
Academic: the impartial scholarly study about religious beliefs and practices
An impartial approach, seeking an understanding and appreciation of the various paths religions have used to reach the Truth, and of how each religion defines Truth. To aid us in our understanding and appreciation of these various paths, no one religion is judged or evaluated superior or inferior to another religion. For non-practitioners, an academic approach can heighten an understanding and appreciation of another religion; for practitioners, an academic approach can heighten an understanding and appreciation of the historical and cultural context of their own religion.
Like a theological approach, an academic approach can also be based upon a rigorous systematic methodology of interpretation and knowing, using a humanities and social science disciplines. But the critical difference between a theological and academic methodological approaches resides in the type of knowing that is legitimized by each approach. Instead of literalism and faith, for example, an academic approach relies upon "empiricism," "literary criticism," or "rationalism." Consequently, what might be considered the "Truth" in one approach my differ from what might be considered a "valid proposition" in the other approach. And as both theological and academic approaches are relying on differing though equally legitimate epistemologies, both approaches can said to be "correct." A theological and academic approach can be understood as based upon differing yet complementary epistemologies.
The academic approaches developed in this course entail the systematic application of an interpretative methodology known as "Eye Juggling" with an appreciation and applications of the humanities and social sciences.
Using the same metaphor of a "roadmap," in our academic approaches, you are attempting to understand and appreciate, in an unbiased a manner as possible, all the of the paths and guides (religions), as well as all of the destinations (salvation, moksha, nirvana, etc.) laid out on the map. In this approach, you gain an appreciation of the historical, cultural, and spiritual meanings and truths of all the religious traditions considered on the road map. You are not personally committing yourself to pursue an exclusive, singular path and destination, nor are you advocating to others that they do the same.
The teaching about religion (Indigenous spiritual traditions) in a state-funded, public university is based in the landmark Supreme Court case of Abington v. Schempp (1963). In this case the Court addressed the Pennsylvania state law that required the reading of the Bible in school and declared it unconstitutional. Among other legal considerations, the Court cited from the First Amendment of the Constitution the Establishment Clause, i.e., "congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion" – the state shall not endorse or promote a religion in general, or anyone religious tradition. (Free Exercise Clause: the government shall not interfere with the free expression of religious belief - the practices of a religion.) Nevertheless, Supreme Court justice Tom Clark, writing for the majority, also remarked:
- "It might well be said that one's education is not complete without a study of comparative religion or the history of religion and its relationship to the advancement of civilization. It certainly may be said that the Bible is worthy of study for its literary and historic qualities." KEY: An academic vs. a theological approach.
Hence the legal judgment and public educational practice was set forth and continues today. In the instruction of religion in public education the curriculum must focus on teaching about religion (for example, comparatively, historically, anthropologically, as great literature, etc.), and not promoting or celebrating one religion over another. An academic approach does not attempt to advocate, embrace, endorse, promulgate, or convert others to a particular religion. Nor during an academic discussion are the merits or values of any particular religious doctrine debated against and over the religious doctrine of another religion.
5. Respect your fellow pilgrims
Respecting the rights of others to express their views, regardless of what you may think of them.
Respecting the rights of others by voicing your own observations in a clear, concise and precise manner, and by not dominating the conversation.
And adhering to common courtesies and civilities, such as coming to class on-time, turning off cell phones, listening and not talking while others "have the podium," etc., in short, "do onto others as you would have them do to you."
Don't be a "rock."
University Classroom Civility Clause:
In any environment in which people interact in meaningful ways to gain knowledge, it is essential that each member feel as free and safe as possible in their participation. To this end, it will be course policy and expected that everyone will be treated with mutual respect. We certainly do not have to agree, but everyone deserves to feel they are heard. We learn by engaging in constructive evidence--based dialogue. Therefore we shall establish in this seminar a general understanding that members of this class (including students, instructors, professors, and teaching assistants) will be respected and respectful to one another in discussion, in action, in teaching, and in learning.
Should you feel our classroom interactions do not reflect an environment of civility and respect, you are encouraged to meet with your instructor during office hours to discuss your concern. Additional resources for expression of concern or requesting support include the Dean of Students office and staff (885-6757), the UI Counseling & Testing Center’s confidential services (885-6716), or the UI Office of Human Rights, Access, & Inclusion (885-4285).
6. Study Skills and Resources
Remember, you should spend, on average, at least 3 hours of study time (textbook reading, reviewing class notes, etc.) for each hour you spend in class. There is additional time devoted to researching and writing papers, and to developing projects. Plan accordingly. If you need help with note-taking, strategies for studying, writing, time-management, or tutoring assistance, please to not hesitate calling your professor.
Be sure to take complete notes of all key materials presented by the lecturer, guest speakers, other students, and any video presentations. Notes will be collected and reviewed periodically.
Writing Your Research Paper
Consider the resources at The Writing Center. The Writing Center is a collaborative learning program dedicated to providing one-on-one assistance to student writers. The Writing Center also provides a library of handbooks and style manuals, three student computers, a collection of handouts about writing, and a comfortable place to sit, read, and write.
Become very familiar with our library, as it will become a second home. To become more familiar with and fully utilize the resources of the library, take the Information Literacy Tutorial. We will also schedule a visit with Diane Prorak, our "ISEM 101 Library Guru." She will assist you in your research project. She will set up a specific web-based "guide" for your research. While doing your research, be able to critically evaluate your sources and judge what resources are valuable and valid. This is especially important in evaluating web site resources. You can also contact Diane at 885-2508 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Questions About Technology
7. University Disability Support Services
Reasonable accommodations are available for students who have documented temporary or permanent disabilities. All accommodations must be approved through Disability Support Services located in the Idaho Commons Building, Room 306.Please meet with either Gloria or Angela at the beginning of each semester to set up accommodations for the semester so that you may notify your instructor(s) early in the semester regarding accommodation(s) needed for the course.
return to 101 syllabus