The Engagements

The Engagements

The Engagements are the highlight of the General Education Curriculum. They comprise a yearlong sequence of courses that celebrate learning while introducing first-year students to the liberal arts and sciences.

Small, seminar-style courses that put you face-to-face with many of UVA's leading scholars and teachers, the Engagements are different from your typical first-year classes at UVA. They invite you to ask big questions, and to think and talk about what you know and value. Designed and taught by the College Fellows, the Engagements emphasize varied modes of discussion and individual and group projects in an interactive environment.   

Students enroll in four Engagements courses in their first year (two seven-week courses per semester).

Primer on the Engagements

Click Each Link Below for Specific Topics Offered in Each Engagement Pillar

A general education should help you explore our world through the lens of human creativity in its many forms. In their shaping of materials, language, space, and sound, artists, architects, writers, and composers reinterpret the world, showing us vital ways of thinking about our present, our past, and the natural world. We will explore how their work provokes our most visceral emotional responses and invites engaged intellectual reflection and interpretation.

A general education should help you make sense of the world and cosmos by analyzing observable evidence and using formal and quantitative reasoning. Both within and beyond the university, you will encounter claims about the natural and social worlds and be confronted with situations that require you to evaluate and make decisions based on evidence. Empirical methods are a crucial component to addressing and answering such a broad range of essential questions. 

A general education should help you examine how people produce, perceive, and negotiate difference. In a pluralistic world, how will we live with one another? Both within the university and beyond, you will encounter a range of ways in which people differ across space and time. While these differences often challenge our capacity to understand one another, engaging difference can provide opportunities for deeper knowledge of human and nonhuman interactions.

A general education should help you reflect upon and deliberate about your lives as ethical agents. Throughout your life, you will encounter questions of right and wrong, liberty and obligation, justice and mercy; you will be responsible for whatever conception of the “good” you use to structure and orient your lives.  We will consider how to understand ethical reflection and practice while acknowledging that some differences on ethical questions are irreconcilable.