The Intellectual Inquiry Curriculum

The Intellectual Inquiry Curriculum flows from the Roanoke College Goals for Liberal Learning, “Freedom With Purpose”. It is built around critical inquiry into questions that are important to us as individuals, citizens, and members of a global community.  By engaging students in rigorous inquiry and developing abilities in communication and critical thinking across the curriculum, it furthers the college’s mission of developing the skills students need to live as informed, resourceful, and responsible citizens.  Combined with students’ majors, it gives students the resources for building an integrated body of knowledge concerning themselves and their world. 

Of the 33 ½ units required for a degree at Roanoke College, between 11 ½ and 14 ½ units are needed to fulfill the Intellectual Inquiry Curriculum requirement. 

First Year Seminars

The Intellectual Inquiry core courses (INQ courses) begin with two first-year seminars that introduce students to the fundamentals of liberal arts education. The first of these courses, entitled “Intellectual Inquiry,” introduces students to critical thinking in higher education, taking as its starting point a focused topic in a scholarly field.  Critical inquiry will be taught in the context of careful reading of important intellectual works, as well as inquiry-based writing assignments.  The second course (“Living an Examined Life”) is a disciplined reflection on basic questions of ethics and values, within the tradition of a particular scholarly field. Students will learn reasoning skills through reading, writing, and oral communication as they link key works with broader traditions of critical reflections on the good life for individuals and communities. Students will be encouraged to explore ways in which they can use these broader traditions for their own reflections on what it means to live well.  These first year seminars are required of all students completing the INQ curriculum.

Intensive Learning

The objectives of the Intensive Learning Program are to foster intense and purposeful faculty-student interchange and to encourage thoughtful, creative exploration of a focused topic during a time when students are enrolled in one and only one course. The College provides a wide array of Intensive Learning opportunities, including travel courses as well as on-campus courses. All intensive learning courses emphasize active student participation, for example, in field study, simulations, and laboratory work. The majority of these courses are offered in May, during a three-week term. All students are required to complete at least one unit of Intensive Learning to graduate from Roanoke College.