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Teaching Informed, Engaged, Responsible Citizens.

Culver students explore an array of times, places, and perspectives – both real and imagined – through the Humanities program. They are challenged to grasp the intricacies of cultures past and present and to consider their place in a complex global world

Student-Led Learning in Humanities

For decades, schools have been modeled after the instructor-led classroom where students are fed information and asked to repeat it for test and essays. Culver’s teaching and learning model flips that paradigm, demanding students to be the primary actor, thus encouraging proactive and dynamic learning.

Discourse at Culver

A number of classrooms in Eppley Hall of Humanities are anchored by the “Harkness” table. The Harkness method was first developed in 1930 in Exeter, N.H. It was an attempt to move away from the traditional teaching model of content retention and toward a more holistic learning approach that helps students experience the content instead of memorizing it. “Harknessing” was introduced to Culver in 1996 and quickly became a staple for many Humanities instructors, inspiring many other student-led discussion methods that have become the foundation to the Humanities experience. Ideally, these discussion-based classes are more intellectually and emotionally challenging, as students must defend ideas and reflect on gaps in their thinking as they update and refine their understanding of the both the world and themselves.

Humanities Instruction

Humanities at Culver stress reading, writing, speaking, and researching skills at all levels. Students learn the power of texts and ideas, and how these both support and challenge cultural norms.

  • Courses include Western Perspectives, Global Perspectives and American Studies, as well as Advanced Placement courses and electives.
  • Grade level-specific curricula blend English and history instruction with political and philosophical discourse, religious studies, and visual expression.
  • Dialogue is at the heart of a humanities classroom. Lively conversation not only positions students as active meaning-makers, but also helps them develop lifelong skills that transcend the curriculum and are essential for responsible citizenship.
  • Coursework integrates literature, philosophy, history, social science, and art; emphasizes clear and effective communication; and requires strong rhetorical skills and complex language analysis.

The Journey Through Humanities

Humanities at Culver is a form of time travel – a four-year journey introducing students to critical moments, ideas, developments, and concerns of humanity – preparing them for a life of consequence in a global, hyper-connected, and complex world. Understanding “the human experience” provides context as students are someday called to act as a productive citizen of the world. The milestones below offer a brief look at how students explore interlocking narratives through their own four-year journey.