Exploring the Uncommon Core: Part II

Exploring the Uncommon Core at Nazareth CollegeIn Part 1 of this blog series, I outlined the basic structure of the Nazareth Uncommon Core, including the three main stages: P-EQs, IS Clusters, and the CME. This second part explores in-depth the value of the the P-EQs.

Each of the eight P-EQ courses covers a different area of study. They are essentially 101-level courses, designed to introduce students to some of the many topics offered at Nazareth.

This system is terrific for undeclared students, because it allows you to progress towards your degree, while still experimenting and learning whether any of the diverse core categories pique your interest. If you do end up selecting a major in line with one of these courses, the P-EQs also often contribute credit to their respective majors, offering you more freedom in your choice of courses in later years.

So, the P-EQs are great for new, undeclared students, but what about those students who enter college knowing exactly what they want to do? If you’re coming from this angle, it’s easy to get annoyed at core courses, because they require you to devote a semester to studying, doing research, and writing papers on topics that may not feel relevant to your life. While it’s true that the subject matter you study in these courses may not be applicable to your future career, that doesn’t mean there is no value to be gained. The way I see it, the true value lies in discovering different frames of mind.

I entered Naz undeclared, but was pretty sure I’d end up pursuing an art major. There’s only one art P-EQ, so it may seem like the other seven would have been a waste of time, but that wasn’t the case. In fact, those seven courses offered me an invaluable opportunity to practice thinking in different frames of mind. As I worked my way through those courses, I learned that you think differently reading about history, than you do writing about psychology, than you do studying religion.

By taking courses that I never would have chosen for myself, I discovered patterns and thought processes within my own head that I never knew I had. I tend to look at the world from a strong design point of view, breaking things down by color and shape, but in the P-EQs, I had to stretch my mind. In venturing out of my artistic comfort zone, it was so freeing to discover that I could function in a range of different subjects, even ones that I had disliked or been daunted by before college.

I’m not saying everyone is going to have the same reaction to our core courses, but I do think that with an open mind and a love of learning, every single student can benefit from the P-EQs. After all, we are a proud liberal arts college, and what better way to celebrate the liberal arts than by exposing our minds to all the variety present in higher education?

Read Part 3 of Exploring the Uncommon Core.



Kai Pepler is a second-year Naz student majoring in visual communication design, and minoring in communication/media. Fascinated by presentation design, information design, learning, and teaching, Kai is working to start a multimedia design studio focused on using visuals to communicate effectively in educational settings. When not designing or dancing, Kai is most likely writing or practicing violin, to further his goal of exploring every creative outlet his liberal arts college has to offer.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *