Introduction to the Oakes Core Course: Communicating Diversity for a Just Society

Oakes 1, Academic Literacy and Ethos, is also known as Core. Core introduces students to critical and analytical reading at the university level. It is the required first part of a program of study (the Academic Literacy Curriculum). Most students will go on to take one or more additional classes through the Writing Program. Oakes 1 offers all students a foundation for intellectual exploration and personal development as members of an academic community. It teaches reading and thinking processes essential to success at the university, and “habits of mind” that demystify academic work and promote independent, self-reflective, and collaborative participation in campus culture. It focuses on Analysis, Critical thinking, Metacognition, Engagement with others across difference, and Self-efficacy--“ACMES” for short.

Each college teaches an ACMES curriculum while also assigning readings keyed to its specific intellectual tradition. The Oakes Core Course, Communicating Diversity for a Just Society, helps first-quarter first year students build deeper, critical connections by engaging with some of the most challenging and relevant issues that face us in the world. We do this by examining the intersections between reading, personal identity, and social justice. In our readings, discussions, and assignments, we seek to answer questions about how materials we read connect with our cultural, religious, sexual, ethnic, class, racial, and gender identities. How have our own ways of identifying—of naming or defining ourselves—shaped our individual experiences? Where do we position our own stories within our shared family histories? How do our own autobiographies and essays, as written accounts of our process of identification, bring our search for ourselves and our relationship with writing into the same conversation?  To do this, students will read in and across four units: Institutionalized Oppression, Social Identity Formations, Felt in the Body, and Resistance and Social Action.



Oakes tree logo
Oakes tree logo