The Integrated Core Curriculum at the University of Saint Katherine

At the University of Saint Katherine, education is understood to be both a pursuit of truth and a formation in virtue. These two aspects are reflected in the institutional motto, Inquiry Seeking Wisdom. This motto is intended to convey a sense that the search for knowledge should unfold over the course of a life that engages faithfully with present challenges by drawing on the wellsprings of the past.

The University of Saint Katherine is committed to classical learning and a model of education that attends to the rich intellectual and cultural heritage of Western civilization and the broad commonalities of human nature explored by that heritage and its unparalleled depth. This commitment is manifested most of all in our unique Integrated Core curriculum, our faculty scholarship and teaching, and rootedness in the Orthodox Christian tradition.

The Integrated Core curriculum provides a solid backbone for Christian liberal arts education at University of Saint Katherine, unifying both student experience and curricular progression through cohort-based learning across a cumulative series of seven interdisciplinary courses. These courses move through ancient, late antique, early Christian, medieval and modern periods, and connect insights into the “everlasting questions” (Dostoevsky) from theological, philosophical, historical, artistic, literary, political, and anthropological perspectives.

Through exposure to diverse fields of study within an Orthodox Christian interdisciplinary pedagogy that foregrounds the principle of integration and integral knowledge, the Integrated Core curriculum engages students in ways that are challenging and rewarding. Amounting to a revamped trivium, the Integrated Core is meant to encourage true, Aristotelian friendship across programs and beyond graduation. The Integrated Core exemplifies the central role of liberal arts at the College and its mission of Inquiry Seeking Wisdom through a commitment to educating the whole person.

The General Education program supports the Integrated Core with a solid grounding in writing, mathematics, science, foreign language, theology, and economics. Faculty-student interaction in small classes, which includes exposure to faculty scholarship on classical topics, encourages the practice of Socratic dialogue and ratiocination. Finally, the Orthodox Christian mission and identity of USK offers a unique approach to the significance of Eastern Christianity and Byzantium as a preserver and transmitter of classical texts and learning to the West. The Orthodox Christian educational approach in the Integrated Core strives to connect intellectual and spiritual life, person and community, beauty and truth.

 

Honors Track

Within the Integrated Core curriculum, students have the option of pursuing an Honors track in six of the seven IC courses. In return for extra contact hours, reading, and assignments, students will receive an extra unit in addition to the normal 3-units when they apply to take an IC course for Honors. This track enables students to accrue up to an additional 6-units of credit. This distinction will be indicated on the student’s transcript.

 

INTEGRATED CORE COURSES

 

INT 100 Interdisciplinary Liberal Arts (3)[1]

Course Description: This course will introduce students to what has traditionally been called the “unity of knowledge,” but which has more lately been labeled under two aspects of higher education and research: the liberal arts, and interdisciplinary methodologies. The course will serve as the starting point for first-semester freshmen as they look ahead toward both their desired program of study and their participation in the Integrated Core curriculum, unique in its content and interdisciplinary method to St. Katherine College. Offering an introduction to the different disciplines of knowledge and study, the methodologies proper to these disciplines, and the occupations that pertain to a path of study in that discipline – in addition to an array of related concepts such as freedom, duty, authority, and the three transcendentals (beauty, truth and goodness) – the course will also equip students to approach their education as a transformative and empowering process, one which demands rigor, integrity, and responsibility, and which has knowing the Lord Jesus Christ more fully as its ultimate aim. To this end, the College’s motto, Inquiry Seeking Wisdom, will be explored as students contemplate the personal and social purpose and effect of their “balanced education in the liberal arts and sciences” at a school like St. Katherine College that is “founded and rooted in the life of the Orthodox Christian Tradition.”

INT 110 Critical Reasoning (3)

Course Description: This course is an introduction to the nature, methods, and aims of valid reasoning. The course thus includes an overview of the basic forms of critical reasoning and fallacies, with special attention to syllogistic reasoning. Additional reflection on the relationship between faith and reason will challenge students to recognize the methodological limits of logical inquiry. An integral understanding of the human person is one that involves the development of the rational faculty, which is intrinsically connected with freedom. In this course, students are encouraged to begin reflecting on their own thought processes, and evaluating the reasonable parameters of responsible decision-making in a complex world. They will also be encouraged to locate and analyze the limits of both critical thinking and logical analysis, exploring how moral and spiritual topics often demand the supplementation of reason with trust, belief and/or desire – integral aspects of the human person not at all opposed to (even if different from) rational thought. Course instruction takes place through lectures and exercises in logic and reasoning as well as discussion of some primary texts in the history of philosophy. These texts include works written by authors such as Plato, Descartes, Pascal, and others.

INT 200 Classical Rhetoric (3)

Course Description: “What has Athens to do with Jerusalem?” Tertullian asked in the 3rdcentury AD – and we shall be asking the same question. As the fountainheads of our civilization have often been recognized as Athens, Rome, and Jerusalem, our readings will first draw upon Greek, Latin, and Hebrew texts. These texts show the transition from Pagan and Hebrew sensibilities into the Christian tradition. They demonstrate, moreover, a conversation between religious traditions that together form our intellectual heritage. Yet neither even are the Greco-Roman nor the Judeo-Christian tradition homogenous entities – each have measures of internal difference that will be explored. In the mix are theists and atheists, realists and skeptics, kings and peasants, saints and scoundrels. Before recommending any of the above, we must understand them: a particular canon of texts is our gateway into that understanding. This trans-historical canon has been familiar to scholars for, in some cases, well over 2,000 years, and to study it is to share the content, pursuit, and experience of the imaginative bedrock of Western civilization in all its unity and diversity. Some of these texts give rise to profound philosophical questions; some are exquisite works of art; some chart the basics of the Western theological landscape – each must be taken on its own terms and yet at the same time must be read, as St. Basil suggests in his Address to Youths on the Reading of Greek Literature, for what is good and useful for living as thoughtful Christians in our present world.

INT 210 Western Civilization and the Formation of Christendom (3)

Course Description: This course is a study of the rise of western civilization under the influence of ancient Judaism, classical paganism, and traditional Christianity. Its first part covers the civilizations of Israel, Greece, Rome, the early Church, and Byzantium. It culminates with the Great Schism of 1054. The second part addresses the spectacular rise of medieval western Europe; the decline and fall of Byzantium; and the civilization of Russia prior to Peter the Great. It culminates with the Protestant Reformation in the west. This course provides the student with a foundation in the history of early western civilization and emphasizes the role played by traditional Christianity in the formation of that civilization. As such it provides a basis from which to evaluate and interpret the rise of secular patterns of modern civilization, contributing to the college’s vision of “inquiry seeking wisdom.” Furthermore, since eastern Christians have historically been a minority in the West, this course, by approaching its topic with an eastern Christian point of view in mind, encourages an importantly critical perspective on Western civilization past and present.

INT 300 Ethics (3)

Prerequisite: INT 110 Course Description: An introduction to the study of the nature, methods, concepts, and divisions of ethics through a survey of major ethical theories and thinkers: Plato, Aristotle, selected Biblical and late antique Christian literature, Thomas Aquinas, Immanuel Kant, and J.S. Mill. Other thinkers such as the following may also be used, including Friedrich Nietzsche, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Alasdair MacIntyre, Christos Yannaras, Vigen Guroian. The course includes an overview of basic ethical problems and related biblical and theological teaching, including perspectives from patristic and Orthodox thinkers. Course instruction takes place primarily through students reading primary texts leading to discussion based on the texts, accompanied by some lecture and student presentation. This course will give University of Saint Katherine 109 students an appreciation of different modes of ethical analysis with a view to considering issues in all disciplines and fields from the ethical point of view.

INT 310 Modern European Thought and Culture (3)

Prerequisite: INT 210 Course Description: This course is an introduction to the history of modern European thought and culture. Its goal is to provide a basis for a career, and indeed life, lived out in critical awareness of and appreciation for the beliefs and values that have shaped the center of modern Western civilization, and how those beliefs and values have changed over time. One of the leading learning outcomes of this course is an understanding how the world in which we live in the twenty-first century was transformed by secularization, and how traditional Christianity continues to offer valuable and challenging insights to the problems and opportunities created by secularization. In addition, students completing the course will further develop skills introduced at earlier stages in University of Saint Katherine’s Integrated Core curriculum, such as interdisciplinary thinking, written expression, and critical thinking. The course will explore politics, religion, and art through lectures and by looking at examples of writing, painting, architecture, music, and film.

INT 350 The American Experiment (3)

Prerequisite: INT 310 Course Description: This course is the final part of the University of Saint Katherine Integrated Core curriculum, and is a study of the civilization of the United States from its origin to the present. The first half of the course covers the colonial period; the revolution; the foundations of the constitution; and development of uniquely American patterns of culture and religion. It culminates with the antebellum political crisis and the Civil War. The second half of the course explores the process of reconstruction; the progressive era; the two world wars; the Great Depression; the Cold War; the counter-cultural movement of the 1960s; the conservative reaction; and the transformation of religious beliefs and moral practices that preceded the close of the twentieth century. It culminates with revival of political partisanship and the “war on terror.” Attention is also given to the history of marginalized communities such as Native Americans and African Americans.

[1] This Integrated Core course cannot be taken for Honors credit.

Faculty

Rebecca Coleman, Adjunct Professor of American Sign Language

Professor Rebecca Coleman has been living in San Diego since 1998 after moving from the northwestern US. She graduated from Palomar College’s English/American Sign Language Interpreter Training Program in 2011 and has worked with the Speech/ASL department at Palomar ever since. She went on to graduate in 2016 with her Bachelor of Science degree in ASL Interpretation Studies from Missouri’s William Woods University. Rebecca is an active volunteer working with her church in children’s ministry and as an interpreter for many events throughout San Diego County. Her plan is to earn her PhD in the field of ASL Interpreting and/or Higher Education.

Fr. Andrew Cuneo, Adjunct Professor of Theology

Father Andrew Cuneo received his Master’s of Divinity from St. Vladimir’s Seminary in New York, and a PhD in English Literature from the University of Oxford, with a thesis dissertation on the letters of C.S. Lewis. Aside from pastoral education and regular guest lectures around the country on C.S. Lewis, he taught for a number of years at Hillsdale College in Michigan. He teaches Orthodox Christianity at the University of Saint Katherine.

Kelly DeGrassie, Adjunct Professor of Mathematics

Professor Kelly DeGrassie earned a BS and an MS in Physics from the University of California, Riverside. After completing her masters degree, she began teaching math at Whittier Christian High School in Orange County. She later developed and taught the college prep physics course for high school. She has also taught physics for Riverside Community College. For the past 8 years, she has been a stay-at-home mom to her three children. When they reached school age, she began homeschooling them. Math is one of her family’s favorite subjects, and she particularly enjoys helping those with low math confidence succeed.

Jim Getman, Adjunct Professor of Communication

Originally from Buffalo, NY, Professor Jim Getman served 24 years in the Navy as an enlisted and officer in the submarine and surface communities. Before retiring from the Navy, he finished his MBA degree from Regis University in Denver, and holds a Doctorate in Management from the University of Phoenix, with a concentration in Leadership and Organizational Behavior.

Bethany Getz, Adjunct Professor of Literature & Composition

Professor Bethany Getz earned her PhD from Baylor University in 2010 and has been teaching writing, composition, and literature classes for over eight years. Her areas of interest include 18th-century and early 19th-century British literature, virtue in literature, early American literature, the great works, and the development of the novel. Her publications include “Virtue” an essay in Wiley-Blackwell’s Encyclopedia of British Literature 1660-1789 and a review of The Encyclopedia of Christian Literature which appeared in the journal of the Conference for Christianity and Literature.

Evan Getz, Adjunct Professor of Literature & Composition

Professor Evan Getz earned his PhD from Baylor University in 2008 and has been teaching writing, composition, literature, philosophy, apologetics, Latin, Greek, and Great Books classes for over 14 years. His areas of interest include Renaissance British literature, philosophical theology, epic poetry, Lucy Hutchinson, and Renaissance reception of Lucretius. He has served as a board member on the Conference for Christianity and Literature since 2012 and presented conference papers on Renaissance poetry, theology, and poetics.

Garrett Miller, Adjunct Professor of Philosophy

Professor Garrett Miller was born and raised in north San Diego County, and he has been teaching philosophy in the region since 2008. He completed a B.A. in Philosophy at the University of California, San Diego in 2005, graduating summa cum laude. He then traveled to England to study philosophy at King’s College London, University of London, where, in 2007, he received his M.A. in Philosophy. His Master’s dissertation at King’s, he explored a prominent philosophical argument for the conclusion that perceptual knowledge is impossible and proposed a novel account of how to overcome it. His current research interests primarily concern issues in epistemology, philosophy of religion, philosophy of science, and ethics.

Dan Marino, Adjunct Professor of Mathematics

Professor Daniel Marino joins the University of St. Katherine in the area of Mathematics. Professor Marino has taught for the past six years in the California Community College System at both Palomar and Miramar Colleges. He received his B.S. Ed. in Secondary Mathematics from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Master of Arts in Mathematics and Master of Civil Engineering from the University of Pittsburgh. He comes to USK after a long career at Hewlett-Packard where he was a sales and marketing executive. In various roles at HP, he utilized his applied mathematics studies.