Big-Picture theme meets Big-Picture connections, in just four courses

Pathways are thematically linked courses drawn from across the UMF curriculum. Each Pathway includes a broad selection of entry-level courses so students from any major can easily participate. Courses in your major, General Education requirements, or Electives can all be be used to satisfy your Pathways requirement.

You’ll choose one Pathway at the end of your sophomore year, each consisting of four courses, built around a big-picture theme (see below). At the end of your Pathway, in your junior or senior year, you’ll produce a project (most likely a written paper, but it could also be a video or something else entirely) that shows how you connected those fours courses toward your chosen big-picture Pathway.

What Pathways can you choose from?

You can choose from any of the 12 big-picture Pathway themes below:

  • Belonging and Marginalization
  • Creating Self-Identity
  • Cross-Cultural Encounters
  • Decision Making
  • Digital Age
  • Human Ecology
  • Peace, Conflict, and Conflict Resolution
  • Place
  • Social Justice
  • Stories
  • Sustainability
  • Wellness and the Good Life

Pathway Descriptions

Belonging and Marginalization
Whether it’s through family, friends, coworkers, or by one’s greater community, people seek a sense of belonging. Often times, certain social groups find themselves pushed to the ‘edges’ of society, finding themselves excluded socially, politically, economically and culturally. This Pathway explores the experiences and needs of marginalized groups by exploring social, economic and health disparities.

Creating Self-Identity
This Pathway explores identity and leads to a better understanding of Self and seeks answers to questions such as: Who are you? How do you define yourself? Do you have a social Self? A private Self? A cultural Self? Are you in the process of changing your identity? Coursework is drawn from disciplines such as Psychology, Philosophy, Community Health, and others. Through class discussions, written work, reflection and experiential learning, you’ll begin the process of gaining insight about your own Self and what you can be.

Cross-Cultural Encounters
This Pathway focuses on what happens when people of different cultures (defined in a variety of ways) come into contact. This contact could be through immigration, artistic works, changing neighborhoods, conquest, travel or even sustained contacts through trade or regular communication and time spent with the other. You’ll be invited to consider any relevant life experience you’ve had, such as being an immigrant here, studying abroad or other cross-cultural experiences you have had.

Decision Making
This Pathway explores how people and groups make decisions. It can also investigate how health care providers, corporations and governments make decisions and how these decisions affect our lives. It will also exaimne what criteria can be used to distinguish “bad” decisions from “good” decisions and what strategies can be used for effective decision making.

Digital Age
This Pathway offers opportunities for learning about digital information technology and the way it pervades our lives. A main goal of this Pathway is be to deepen your knowledge and understanding of the complex interplay between social, moral,political and cultural values and our digital society through integrative, cross-disciplinary learning.

Human Ecology
The Human Ecology Pathway deals with the relationship between people and their natural, social, and created environments. Human Ecology investigates how humans and human societies interact with nature and with their environment. This Pathway will help you to expand your knowledge in areas of environmental sciences, social planning and program development.

Peace, Conflict and Conflict Resolution
This Pathway explores issues regarding conflict in a broad sense, from the interpersonal to the political. You may explore conflict between students in a classroom or conflict between major world powers on a global scale. You may tackle issues of peace and conflict in ancient times, in recent history or in the news and in our lives today.

This Pathway examines the idea of “place” from many different perspectives: the literature of place, the geography of place, the people and history of place, the ecology and nature of place, the morphology of place, the social history of place, the politics of place and the future of place. You’ll explore questions such as how does place provide a deeper understanding of the interactions between geography, biology, human history and our own relationships to our daily surroundings? How do geography, geology, biology and human history interact and overlap to create a place?

Social Justice
This Pathway explores subjects such as how notions of justice changed over time and across different societies, how societies function when their members have competing ideas about justice and how to achieve it. You’ll exaimine the role of objective evidence and data in driving conversations about justice and how individuals might work better toward justice.

This Pathway focuses on the role played by stories in our personal lives and in human culture. You’ll draw on creative work in the arts, humanities, and social sciences as you explore a broad range of topics and issues such as: What makes a story a story? What makes a story meaningful? How, in making sense of stories, do we understand ourselves, our cultures and other individuals and other cultures of the past and present? How do personal and cultural factors shape the stories that are told and the way we understand them?

Wellness and Good Life
This Pathway examines how our understanding of ourselves, our bodies and our environment enables us to lead a better life physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. You’ll explore issues such as leading a healthy life, how our environment contributes to a good life and enhances our overall well-being, personal behaviors that support leading a good life and how they can impact your health and well-being in positive and not so positive ways. You may also examine ways in which living a healthy lifestyle can lead to a healthier society. It can include academic areas such as biology, chemistry, community health, rehabilitation services, anthropology, psychology, philosophy and more.

Frequently Asked Questions

A:  Yes. They can overlap with any course, which means these are not additional classes beyond what you need for graduation. You may even find you’re already taking some classes toward a Pathway. Some Pathways include internships and student teaching experiences, too.

A: Slow down, tiger. While we appreciate your enthusiasm and some courses will be appropriate for more than one Pathway, you will complete only one Pathway.

A: There’s no limit to how many courses you may take in a major for Pathways if your major is interdisciplinary, BUT a maximum of 2 courses in a single subject (for example ENG, HIS, REH, etc) may be taken for credit towards your Pathway course requirement.

A:  Email General Education Director and Associate Professor of History Anne Marie Wolf with your Pathway-related questions.

A:  Certainly. Contact General Education Director and Associate Professor of History Anne Marie Wolf for the Pathway courses being offered during the current 2018-2019 academic year.  Note: The Pathway courses and course titles may be different when you begin attending UMF in the Fall of 2019 (the 2019-2020 academic year).