Program Overview

Exploration and Discovery is a first-year course designed to introduce students to important ideas and works in the tradition of the liberal arts. Over the two semesters, students develop and hone their college-level skills in critical reading by engaging a diverse array of challenging textual materials. “E&D” students also advance their strength and confidence as writers of prose through regular practice, constructive feedback from faculty and peers, and opportunities to revise and polish their work. In addition, students practice their skills as capable speakers in both informal and formal settings, and develop their research capabilities and basic information literacy.

The fall semester explores enduring works, questions, and ideas in the liberal arts tradition. Students work collaboratively in a group setting; perform careful, critical reading of sophisticated texts; articulate in spoken and written word effective analysis and synthesis of texts and ideas; compose formal academic writing. 

The spring semester guides students from the pathways of exploration to particular disciplinary avenues of discovery. Although each section is unique in terms of its focus and assigned texts, all sections share the vital goal of honing students’ college skills, including formal speaking and research.

Because one of the goals of E&D is to help first-year students improve their skills as speakers, all sections are capped at 19 students and structured to foster thoughtful and articulate discussion of key texts and ideas. Small class sizes also enable instructors to work more intensively with all students on developing their writing skills.

Frequently Asked Questions about E&D

 E&D Student Resources, Writing Tips and Guidelines

Discover tips for writing a college-level paper.