New Minor Emphasizes Interdisciplinary Approach to Humanities

By Laura Hayes

Beginning this semester, Furman students will have the chance to enroll in a new minor that will allow them to study various aspects of human experience across multiple disciplines. Called the Humanities interdisciplinary minor, the latest addition to Furman’s curriculum gives students the freedom to develop their own focused course of study in conjunction with the departments that call Furman Hall home.

The minor, which has been in the works since 2006 but was only recently approved, is now accepting freshman and sophomore applications.

Humanities minors will take one of two introductory team-taught classes and will then choose their next four core classes. These classes will prepare students for a senior seminar in which they will complete a major research project, which they will be required to present at the annual Furman Engaged event.

“This is more of a planned minor,” said English Professor Margaret Oakes, who served as chair of the minor’s Oversight Committee. “Students come in with an idea for how to combine three disciplinary areas into a project for their senior year, which is more intentionally determined.”

The idea for the new minor originated with the most popular class from Furman’s former trimester schedule — the Freshman Humanities Sequence — a series of team-taught interdisciplinary courses. The introduction of First Year Seminars and the switch to the semester schedule ended the popular sequence.

Understanding the different ways in which people approach issues and ask ultimate questions will provide the foundation for humanities minors. History Professor Tim Fehler, who team teaches a humanities course with Religion Professor Bryan Bibb this semester, said he believes in the importance of using historical context to enhance our understanding of such ultimate questions.

“History encompasses a variety of subjects, and students will be able to use it to learn about a variety of different perspectives,” he said.

Oakes added that the minor is a “great way for people to be creative with what they are doing” and gives students the unique experience of participating in a team-taught class.

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