The Engagements

The Engagements

The Engagements are the highlight of the General Education Curriculum, a yearlong sequence of courses that introduce first-year students in the College to the liberal arts and sciences and celebrate learning.

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 ask big questions, and invite you to think and talk about what you know and value. The Engagements, designed and taught by the College Fellows, emphasize individual and group projects and discussion in an engaging environment.   

Only students in the Engagement Pathway will enroll in Engagements in their first year.

Primer on the Engagements

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

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.