Principia 101:  An Introduction to the Liberal Arts
MWF 2:40-3:50

Instructor:                Larry A. Papenfuss, Ph.D., CHES., “Dr. P.”
Office:                      Outreach Center - Second Floor, Room 223
Phone:                      299-4440 or messages at 299-4434,
Office Hours:           M-F 10:45 - 11:45, 1:30-2:30  and by appointment.  Whenever possible, please make an appointment  (My committee work & supervising student teachers can take me off campus during my office hours).

Academic Integrity:
Honesty and integrity are important values in this learning community and are expected in this course.  Violations of this policy (e.g. cheating or plagiarism) will result minimally in the failure of the exam or assignment and report to the Academic Dean, and maximally, in failure of the course.

Course Description:
Welcome to Principia!  Through the study of the theme, “the examined life”, Principia seeks to develop an understanding and appreciation of liberal arts education.  Principia from the Latin meaning first things – invites you (as first year students) to participate in “the great conversation” that reaches across time and cultures from Ancient Greeks and Hebrews to the present Concordia College curriculum.  This centuries-long conversation has involved many disciplines—philosophy, theology, literature, history and science—as well as reflection upon the values that inform all intellectual inquiry.  By joining this conversation we are called to reflect upon many questions which have implications for our own lives, values and commitments to a liberal arts education.  What is the examined life?  What value has it had for other humans?  What possible value could it have for ourselves?  Why has an examined life been valued from the Ancient Hebrews and Greeks to the present?    Carroll Engelhardt, 1999

Course Objectives:
*  To provide first-year students with a common intellectual experience;
*  To develop skills of critical inquiry in the examination of classical texts and a variety of disciplinary perspectives;
*  To help students understand their own values in light of those classical thinkers;
*  To enable students to relate historical texts and perspectives to the analysis of current issues;
*  To develop an awareness of the linkage between private lives and public issues;
*  To engage in oral and written inquiry into historical and contemporary issues.

Academic Expectations:
*  Attendance is expected.  The fourth absence from this course without the instructor's approval will result in a lowering of your grade for the course.
*  All papers are to be typed in standard fonts and sizes.
*  Grading criteria for papers can be found at the link titled "evaluation criteria" in the description of assignments #3 below.
*  Papers will be turned in on time.  Late papers raise the issue of fairness for those students who complete their work on schedule.  Papers that are one day late will have 10% deducted from their grade, two days late will have 20% deducted and no papers will be accepted after that without prior approval of the instructor.

To accomplish these objectives, you will be required to read/view, reflect on, and discuss the texts, articles, films, exhibits, and performances.  These are arranged in seven units.  Materials certainly apply to more than a single unit but are arranged in the following order for organizational purposes.

The Principia Homepage is an excellent study resource for many of these materials and you are strongly encouraged to use it to as you prepare for class and reaction papers.

What Are the Liberal Arts?/What Is Principia?/The Examined Life?
Keen, What You Ask Is Who You Are      Discussion Questions
Cronon, Only Connect   Concordia Mission Statement, Agenda Goals, Team I Goals    Discussion Questions
Simmons, Christian Vocation in the Liberal Arts    Notes & Discussion Questions
Plato, Apology      Discussion Questions      Apology Study Guide Link

The Book of Job, Bible (any translation)  Outline   Questions for:  Part I  Part  II   Part III  Part IV
Shadowlands film   Viewing Guide
Saint Augustine Confessions translation by Henry Chadwick
Saint Augustine website by James O'Donnell

Leopold, The Land Ethic
Timan, Habitat Destruction and the Extinction Debt
My Father's Garden video
Ansel Adams video

Documentary "Looking For Richard" Principia Film Series  Looking for Richard Study Guide
Creativity and Longevity by Norman Cousins Excerpt from Anatomy of an Illness
Charlie Rose interview on Jazz with Ken Burns and Wynton Marsalis

Simmons, Christian Vocation in the Liberal Arts    Notes & Discussion Questions

LaDuke, Last Standing Woman      Discussion Questions    Part 1    Part 2   Part 3 & 4
Nerburn, Neither Wolf Nor Dog
Anti-racism workshop

Potok, The Chosen
Albom, Tuesdays With Morrie   Discussion Questions:Part I, pp. 1-68
Nightline video - Morrie Schwartz Interview

Peace Prize Forum
Event Overview
Schedule of Events
Saturday Event Sessions

Course Evaluation:
1.  Participation       (4 evaluations @ 10 points)                                                 40 pts.
Becoming a learning community requires that each and every individual contribute through completing the assigned readings and discussing their implications.  This requires active participation in class discussion.  Participation will be graded five times throughout the semester.  The criteria for grading this component are as follows:
A (9-10) = Excellent - well prepared; brings, refers to, and questions assigned texts; displays critical thinking; frequently initiates discussion; engages classmates in discussion;  respects others and does not dominate; listens attentively and responds to others.
B (8) = Exceeds Minimum Standards - prepared; brings, refers to, and occasionally questions texts; sometimes initiates discussion, engages classmates, or makes comments that further the discussion; listens attentively.
C (7) = Meets Expectations - usually prepared; brings but rarely refers to or questions assigned texts; seldom engages classmates, occasionally speaks, listens.
D & F (6 or less) = Not Meeting Expectations - often unprepared; often does not bring or is familiar with assigned texts; speaks only when called upon, may have private conversations with others and is otherwise inattentive in class.

2.  Reading Quizzes   (4 @ 10 points)                                                                    40 pts.
It is your responsibility to come to class prepared.  This means carefully reading the assigned texts. Four times throughout the semester, unannounced quizzes will be given that cover the reading assignment/s up to that day.

3.  Leading Group Discussion                                                                             10 pts.
Together with two of your classmates, you will be responsible for leading the class discussion for approximately half the class period.  Your group will need to have completed the discussion topic reading and study materials in advance and together brainstorm ways to facilitate the class discussion.  Feel free to discuss ideas w Dr. P..  Possible ways to facilitate the discussion of your classmates would be to use the techniques that will be modeled in class such as fishbowl, where do you stand, connections with current issues or other activities.  The group will email a copy of their process ideas and discussion questions to Dr. P. before 8:30 am the day of their presentation.  Preparation = 10 pts, Ability to generate conversation = 10 pts.

4.  Photo Project                                                                                                    10 pts.
As part of the creativity unit, you and several class mates will develop a photo presentation to the rest of the class.  This presentation should represent a creative depiction of  a theme pertinent to "the examined life".  Details will be given in class.

5.  Peace Prize Forum                                                                                            10 pts.
You are to attend one general session AND one of the Saturday sessions and then type a 2-3 page reaction that compares the sessions you attend and to either Cronon's characteristics of a liberally educated person or Keen's ideas about what it means to be a lover of important questions.  Alternate assignment see Carter acceptance speech at:

6.  Reaction Papers (4 papers @ 25 points each)                                                    100 pts.
Four times throughout the course you will respond to the readings, films, presentations, and discussions via a written paper.  Each paper is to be approximately 4-5 pages in length (typed, double spaced, in a standard font and 12 point size).  The main emphasis is for you to make connections between the materials presented and substantiate them with direct references to the materials.  Two questions are always pertinent: 1.) How do these texts help me to examine my life and; 2.) How do these materials reflect what it means to be liberally educated?  Additionally, you might describe how these materials connect with your own life experiences, contemporary issues, potential majors, films, texts, or other courses.  Each paper must include a thesis statement at the beginning of the paper and a signed statement of adherence to Concordia's academic policies. Evaluation criteria.

7.  Final Project                                                                                                            30 pts
The last week of class will be devoted to summarizing what you have learned as a participant in this course in a final project.  This project consists of three parts:
A. One-Pager - this is a visual representation of a significant learning experience you had as a participant in this course (something that helped you examine your own life).  It should include three direct quotes (or paraphrases) from the materials that relate to this epiphany.  It should also include a paragraph or two (brief) describing the meaning and/or connection to your life.  Finally, include at least one additional quote from an outside source that speaks to the same idea.
B.   A 3-5 page (more detailed) narrative that describes how at least two materials covered in the course impacted you.  1.) What did these materials teach you about yourself?  2.) How did they inform your understanding of the liberal arts?  3.) How did they inform your understanding of at least one of the following:  vocation, community, faith, science, gender, race, culture or creativity?
C.  A five minute presentation to the class that summarizes your project, followed by a five minute question and answer period.  Failure to attend the presentations of classmates will result in a lowering of your project grade.


240 Points Possible
 A     93%> =                      C+  76% =  152                      D-  60%  =  120
 A-    90%   =                        C    73% =  146                      F    below  60%
 B+    86%   =                       C-   70% =  140
 B      83%  =                         D+  66% =  132
 B-    80%  =                      D     63% =  126