As a basis of a Wartburg College education, the Essential Education (Ess Ed) plan is comprised of a series of challenges that help create liberally educated, ethically-minded citizens for the 21st century.
EssEd: Thinking Strategies, the Three Levels
The introductory level
IS (Inquiry Studies) Courses look at problems/ situations with the point of modeling how educated people formulate and respond to questions of personal and social importance. Designed as "pre-disciplinary" courses, IS courses favor broad processes of inquiry and articulation over narrow content and responses.
The second level
IC (Interconnected) Courses introduce students to the unique contributions of disciplines to our understanding of themes, issues, and fields of knowledge. These courses also connect a unique disciplinary understanding to another discipline's perspective (upon the same object of study), thus allowing students to experience how varied approaches and vocabularies provide new and useful insights.
The third level
ID (Interdisciplinary Courses) require students to synthesize knowledge. Students draw upon the work in their major(s) and experiences in IS and IC courses as they integrate knowledge across the humanities/fine arts, social sciences, and natural sciences. Such integration serves the understanding of a complex social, historical, or philosophical issue.
EssEd approaches the challenges of thinking/expressing skills via three components: verbal reasoning (writing and speech), mathematical reasoning, and scientific reasoning. Wartburg believes that competency in these three areas is central to producing the cognitive outcomes of liberal learning, which are in turn central to good citizenship and career success.
Wartburg College's EssEd plan integrates into specific courses those literacies required of a liberally educated person. These include information literacy (ILAC); diversity across the curriculum (DAC), including foreign language; oral communication across the curriculum (OCAC), and writing across the curriculum (WAC). Such courses reinforce skills introduced at the IS level (above) as well as in composition, scientific reasoning, and oral communication courses.
EssEd: Faith and Reflection
As a college of the ELCA, Wartburg College takes seriously its duty not only to foster spiritual as well as intellectual growth, but also to help students integrate the two. To this end, EssEd asks students to take two religion/philosophy courses, the first in years one or two and the second in years three or four. The first of these courses provides students with the opportunity for in-depth study of the Biblical tradition. The second course, chosen among a number of options, will concern how Christian traditions or the Western philosophical traditions have addressed ultimate questions of Being and value in human experience.
Health and Wellness
Wartburg College prides itself in its nurturing of the body, mind, and spirit of each of its students. To that end, each student is expected to complete a half-term course concerned with promoting life-affirming choices regarding physical health.
EssEd: The Capstone
The capstone, the only course required in EssEd specifically included in students' majors, completes the process of integration. In the capstone, students are expected to synthesize the various intellectual strategies and forms of knowledge that they have been exposed to in their majors.