Beyond Boundaries Seminar (1 credit)

Led by the Beyond Boundaries Program Director, Rob Morgan and Special Assistant to the Provost Jill Stratton, this course will cover selected relevant topics including interdisciplinary projects and lectures, collaboration, ideation exercises, and college student development. It is an interactive seminar in which each program participant will participate in prototyping futures, mind-mapping, salon-type discussions, dialogue, reflection and related activities. There will be opportunities to meet and hear from faculty representing all 7 schools at Washington University. The knowledge gained is designed to contribute to academic success, personal development, and a more rewarding social and academic experience over the course of the college experience.
This is a pass/fail course and students will earn one credit in the Fall semester.

College Writing (3 credits)

During the fall semester, students will take a 3-unit common College Writing course. This course will focus on basic writing skills and communication across disciplines. It will meet three days per week. The course will be taught by a faculty member of the program in sections of 12 students. It will include various contributions from faculty in other departments and across divisions through lecture series, class visits, panels, and interviews.  Students will self-select into one of the following themes: Ampersand Ireland; Citizen Scientist, Dreams & Nightmares; Writing Identity; Writing, Literature & Justice; Place & Perspective; Power & Commodity Culture; Writing Technology; When I’m 64.

First-Year Bear Bridge Courses (3 credits): Spring Semester Only 

In the Spring semester, students in the Beyond Boundaries cohort only have an opportunity to apply their interdisciplinary knowledge to important social and intellectual questions via one of two courses called a ‘Bear Bridge’ course. 

Bear Bridge courses are intended to:
• Apply knowledge and experience from team-taught Beyond Boundaries courses in a project-based, applied context. 
• Reinforce cohort experience within the Beyond Boundaries program. Students enrolled in the Beyond Boundaries program will have additional curricular and co-curricular cohort-building, and Bear Bridge courses will reinforce these connections.
• Prepare students for on-going interdisciplinary approaches in their following three years on campus. Bear Bridge courses will give students a set of tools to apply interdisciplinary approaches, including informing their choice of major, their approach to capstone, and their self-identity as a scholar.

Bear Bridge: Empathy First: Creating Solutions With Heart (Professors Jenni Harpring & Liz Kramer) 

Decisions that impact the daily lives of people are often made without consideration of the lived experience of those impacted, resulting in harm and eroded trust. Empathy is a critical tool for understanding the lived experience of others and creating better quality of life for all people. This class will introduce integrating empathy into decisions through the methods, processes, and approaches used in design and social work. Students will examine how empathy is incorporated into the development and implementation of new solutions to wicked problems through conversations with experts in health, law, and business, community-based team projects, reflection, and discussion. Course activities will build cohort connections.

Bear Bridge: Law, Race, and Design: Examining the St. Louis Story (Professors Penina Acayo Laker & John Inazu)

This interdisciplinary course focuses on the intersection of law and race in St. Louis. From Dred Scott to Ferguson, St. Louis has served as a focal point for some of the most important issues in our country’s long and still unfinished work toward racial equality. The law has played an important role in these developments – judicial opinions, city ordinances, and commission reports have shaped how we understand questions of race and equality. But the law is not simply the written word – it involves people, practices, and places, and the stories we tell about them. How we communicate our stories ultimately affects how we understand those stories, and how we understand ourselves.
This course situates law within stories and equips students to communicate those stories in ways that draw from a range of methodological tools. Using human-centered design, it challenges students to connect the words of legal documents with the experiences of those whose lives are situated by them.

Beyond Boundaries Courses (6 credits, open to all first year students)

In addition to the six-credit introductory series, first year students in the Beyond Boundaries Program will be required to complete two Beyond Boundaries courses (one in the Fall and one in the Spring), for which they will have priority enrollment.

Beyond Boundaries courses, which are funded by the Office of the Provost and offered to first year students only, are designed to prepare students for a rapidly evolving world characterized by social, political, scientific, and economic problems that cannot be solved using knowledge from a single discipline. Team-taught by faculty from different schools across Washington University, Beyond Boundaries courses offer a window into how scholars from different disciplines approach big, critical topics – like our aging population, the nature of creativity, the phenomenon of climate change, and the evolving art of medicine.

These courses will offer first year students in this program tangible examples from interdisciplinary approaches to these topics, including examples of faculty from across schools participating in interdisciplinary exploration. Some courses within the schools, which have been pre-designated by the Faculty Lead Team as meeting the requirements of interdisciplinary courses, may also count towards this requirement in the Spring semester.

The Art of Medicine (Professors Rebecca Messbarger & Patricia Olynyk / offered in Spring)

This interdisciplinary, cross-school course at the intersection of history and the visual arts offers students a singular encounter with western medicine from ancient times to the present day. In tandem with the history of medicine, the course examines the capacity of the arts to frame medical practice and to raise questions and influence perceptions, both positively and negatively, of medical advancements.  For more info, go HERE.

Designing Creativity: Innovation across disciplines (Professors Bruce Lindsey & Rob Morgan / offered in Fall and Spring)

From “Ah-ha” epiphanies to slow-developing discoveries, the creative process has been employed by innovators and artists in virtually every corner of the globe for centuries. Designing Creativity is a course that will explore the study and practice of the creative process across many disciplines with input from prominent thinkers and practitioners in the areas of medicine, neuroscience, law, engineering, architecture, human-centered design, business, stage design, and the performing arts. The class will also incorporate practice of design thinking and creativity techniques in a LAB component that will allow students to explore the development of innovative ideas in collaborative teams followed by project presentations to core faculty and classmates.  Course website is HERE.

Earth’s Future: Causes and consequences of global climate change (Professors T.R. Kidder & Brent Williams / offered in Fall)

Climate change is said by many to be one of the most important issues of our time. This course examines 1) the physical basis for climate change; 2) how climates are changing and how we know and assess that climates are changing; and 3) the effects of climate change on natural and human systems. The course is team-taught and will involve participation by scholars across the university with expertise in specific subjects. Earth’s Future is a broad, introductory course for first year students. While this course presumes no special subject matter knowledge on the part of the student you will be exposed to a broad array of scholarship across the sciences, social sciences, engineering, and humanities.  Check out an article and video on the course HERE.

Gender, Youth, and Global Health (Professors Jessica Levy & Caline Mattar / offered in Spring)

Through in-depth case studies, this course provides an introduction to gender specific issues in the context of childhood and adolescence, poverty, and global health. Students will learn to identify how gender and gender differences affect conditions of life in the areas of reproductive health, nutrition, conflict, access to healthcare, and the social determinants of health, especially for young people. Students will learn to analyze health conditions and disparities in relation to both the micro dynamics of local worlds and the macro dynamics of large-scale social forces in the postcolonial global field. Additionally, they will come to understand the current challenges that global health practitioners and institutions confront in achieving gender equity and the current efforts towards closing the gap. These learning objectives will be achieved using lectures, but also discussions-based sessions and Skype-based interactions with NGOs and experts who are currently working in the field.  Check out the SP 2018 flyer for the course HERE.

When I’m 64: Transforming Your Future (Professors Brian Carpenter, Nancy Morrow-Howell, and Susy Stark / offered in Fall)

This class will introduce you to the many issues related to aging in our society. You’ll interact with leaders and researchers from many fields, including medicine, engineering, architecture, public health, social work, law, business, art, psychology, and anthropology.  Check out this article and video on the course HERE.

Morality and Markets (Professors Peter Boumgarden & Abram Van Engen / offered in Spring)

What does it look like to live a moral life in today’s market system? We know all too well what it does not look like. The news is filled with moral failures of leaders and executives at top firms. We like to believe that we would behave differently, but what kind of pressures inform our moral choices? What pulls us, what pushes us, and what persuades us to act one way rather than another? These are the questions that a course combining business and literature can open in unique ways, for the world of fiction helps open the ethical dilemmas of the market we inhabit everyday. In the following course, we use great books, classics of film and modern television, and the tools of modern psychology and business strategy to think critically about what is entailed in living a moral life in the midst of the modern market.

To Sustainability and Beyond: People, Planet, Prosperity (P3) (Professors Avni Solanki & David Webb / offered in Spring)

To Sustainability and Beyond: People, Planet, Prosperity is a course designed for first-year students that combines interdisciplinary instruction with applied project work. Students will be introduced to global concepts in sustainability and examine how they relate to specific issues in the greater St. Louis community, learning what it means to be civic-minded stewards of social and ecological systems. Additionally, they will work on developing critical “soft” skills needed for success on the job, such as effective communication techniques, project management, and leadership. Students will emerge from the course with a systems-level understanding of sustainability, a working knowledge of the fundamentals of community engagement, and an appreciation for values-based civic stewardship. Experience in this course will prepare students for applied project-based work in other courses or internships, regardless of academic discipline. 

The Endgame of Entrepreneurship: Leveraging Capitalism for Good (Professors II Luscri,  Joe Steensma, and Doug Villhard / offered in Fall)

Historically, profit has been a key driver of human behavior. In this class, students will learn to take advantage of the profit seeking motive to address inequality, environmental degradation, food insecurity, and international conflict. With an emphasis on interdisciplinary and project based learning, teams of students will design implementable solutions to these challenges while developing creative problem solving behaviors that will benefit them in their personal, academic, professional, and charitable pursuits at WashU and beyond.

Religious Freedom in America (Professors John Inazu and Mark Valeri / offered in Fall)

The intersection of religion and law in American society has sparked some of the fiercest cultural engagements in recent memory: Should a for-profit religious corporation have a right not to fund birth control for its employees? Can a public college expel campus religious groups whose membership is not open to all students? May a Muslim grow a beard for religious reasons in prison? Should a cake baker or a florist be permitted to refuse services for a gay wedding? Can a church hire and fire its ministers for any reason?  These current debates and the issues that frame them are interwoven in the American story. This course introduces students to the major texts and historical arguments underlying that story. Drawing from the respective expertise of the instructors, it exposes students to a variety of scholarly methods related to the issue: legal history and case law, intellectual history and canonical texts, social history and narrative accounts, and political philosophy and contemporary analyses. Click HERE for the syllabus.