Foundations

Foundations

The Foundations Program of Trinity Christian College is rooted in its Mission Statement, that “those who teach and learn are called to be coworkers with Christ in subjecting all cultural activities to the reign of God, and that genuine education must involve the whole person as a thinking, feeling, and believing creature.” All undergraduate students at the College take courses within the Foundations Program. Through their participation in the required coursework of the Foundations curriculum, Trinity students will be grounded, engaged, and called for service to Christ and His Kingdom.

FOUNDATIONS

The Foundations curriculum prepares students beyond their major or career and are courses that all Trinity students take. They not only prepare students for upper-level courses, but also personal success and service to God’s kingdom beyond the classroom.

CHICAGO CONNECTIONS

At Trinity, we are connected to our place. All Trinity students will now take a course that is explicitly connected to the city of Chicago or its suburbs. These are called Chicago Connect courses, and students will benefit from relationships with businesses, non-profit organizations, and other community partners.

INTERDISCIPLINARY INQUIRY

At a small school like Trinity, we are able to collaborate across disciplines. All Trinity students will now take a course that examines a topic, theme, or question from multiple perspectives. These are called Interdisciplinary Inquiry Courses, and they will feed creativity, flexibility, and ability to solve problems.

VOCATION

Foundations helps students discern their vocation, or their calling from God. We see vocation as including career and paid work, but extending beyond it to family, community, civic, and church life. A new course, Foundations 201: Courage, Creativity, and Calling, engages vocation head-on, and will also be part of other courses.

UNIQUE FOUNDATIONS COURSE AREAS AND DESCRIPTIONS

Required of all incoming students during their first semester of studies, FDN 101 or FDN 111 is designed to help new students transition academically and socially into the life of Trinity. In FDN 201, students learn habits and practices that form and maintain a public and professional identity while also engaging in critical reflection on those habits and practices. The course prepares them for service to God’s kingdom in a number of areas, including the world of work, church participation, and civic responsibilities.

This course introduces first time, first-year students to Trinity’s Christian learning community. It provides incoming students with the opportunity to connect with faculty, staff, and current students while considering the College’s Christian perspective on learning, commitments to community life, and understanding of service. Intensive learning experiences occur before the start of the regular semester and continue through the eighth week of classes. This course is offered only in the fall semester. First-time, first-year students entering in the spring semester take FDN 111.

This required one-credit Foundations course introduces sophomore-level or higher transfer students (fall or spring) and first-year students (spring) to the mission of the College and their academic program. It provides incoming students with the opportunity to connect with faculty, staff, and students while considering the College’s Christian perspective on learning and commitment to community life. This course takes place during the day prior to the regular semester schedule and the first four weeks of the semester.

God has designed students as creative beings, called to bring about flourishing in all vocational settings. Students need courage and creativity to take up a variety of roles in His kingdom. This course will address key transitions for sophomores that center on personal development, leadership, spiritual growth, and communication skills. Students will learn habits and practices that form and maintain a public and professional identity while also engaging in critical reflection on those habits and practices. Cultivating in students a vocational, whole-person perspective, the course will prepare them for service in a number of areas, including the world of work, church participation, and neighborhood/local community.

Students study topics and issues that engage a variety of audiences in contemporary public life, addressing the question “What is the good life?” Engagement with course content will involve attention to students’ processes of thinking and to the process of writing.   These courses are taken during freshman or sophomore year.

In Thinking and Writing courses, students develop their self-awareness, their powers of discernment, and their ability to think and write about the question, “What is the good life?” In Thinking and Writing: The Arthurian Tradition, students take up this question in the context of one of the most enduring of literary traditions in the English language, the grand narrative of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. For centuries, audiences have been entranced by the exploits of the legend’s evocative character — Arthur; Merlin; Lancelot and Guinevere; Galahad; Tristan and Isolde; Morgan Le Fey; Sir Gawain; the Lady of the Lake; the Fisher King—as generations of writers, artists, composers, and filmmakers have retold and embellished its many stories. In this course, we shall undertake a studied and unhurried exploration of the Arthurian tradition, tracing the development of a myth from its earliest medieval articulations through its most recent settings in popular fiction and film. Giving special attention to the national, religious, and sexual resonances that the stories have accrued as they have been re-imagined at different historical moments, we shall seek to understand why it is that this particular legend has endured for so long, and why it continues to mesmerize audiences today. Throughout our study, we will consider the good life in light of such Arthurian themes as the ideal society, courtly love, fellowship, and nostalgia for an irrecoverable past.

In Thinking and Writing courses, students develop their self-awareness, their powers of discernment, and their ability to think and write about the question, “What is the good life?” In Thinking and Writing: Communities and the Good Life, students will examine the role that community life and community institutions (family, neighborhood, church, local businesses, local government, etc.) play in forming one’s identity and character. The course takes as its starting point the communities in which students themselves have lived and to think about these in light of both individual and communal formation. The course then asks students to consider how people lived in community in other times and places, with the hope that their vision of the good life would be enlarged by considering how people lived in community in other times and places. Students will further consider and probe more communal understandings of human flourishing than are presented by modern popular culture and society. Listening to others’ stories is a way of loving one’s neighbor, both one’s neighbor who lives today and one’s neighbor who lives in the past. Ongoing engagement with the question “what is the good life” will further enable students to broaden their understanding of vocation and consider how it connects to their past experiences and hopes for the future.

In Thinking and Writing courses, students develop their self-awareness, their powers of discernment, and their ability to think and write about the question, “What is the good life?” This course teaches students to write proficiently in a variety of formats, following a process approach to writing that covers description, narration, exposition, and argumentation. In this process, students learn to read proficiently and think critically on a wide range of topics concerning multiculturalism and ethnic diasporas in the U.S. and Latin America. In engaging these multi-layered questions, students learn to interrogate the protracted impact of human agency (brokenness and hope) in God’s created world, and how this might condition or suggest definitions of the Christian “good life.” The course suggests various definitions of the “good life” by encouraging students to look into the complex diversity of the human condition in different times and places. It cultivates the patient practice of close reading and deep thinking, thus disrupting shallow habits of swift judgment and instant gratification. Students learn to employ basic linguistic concepts in different writing styles in Spanish, and to tailor their style for different purposes and audiences. This course is taught in Spanish and requires Spanish proficiency.

In Thinking and Writing courses, students develop their self-awareness, their powers of discernment, and their ability to think and write about the question, “What is the good life?” In Thinking and Writing: Disability and Community—Thriving Together, students will engage such questions as: What does it mean to thrive within a community in which the members have a variety of abilities? How can I fully engage a workplace in which my colleagues or clients have abilities that differ from my own? How can I advocate for inclusion and belonging in my place of worship? How can I learn from and serve alongside classmates who process the world differently than I do? This course will examine disability through a variety of lenses, while helping participants consider a perspective of community in which all members are valuable. Participants will contemplate the Biblical perspective of disability by reflecting on Jesus’s model of healing in the Gospels. In order to experience the richness of our community with people who share and differ from participants based on ability, the class will engage with a variety of individuals with disabilities and their family members. Alongside these experiences, students will explore disability historical perspectives, stigma, theory, identity, labeling, and culture. As a student, how will you respond? You have an opportunity to contribute to the flourishing of the communities that you belong to. Can you find the J.O.Y. in disability within your community and thrive together?

In Thinking and Writing courses, students develop their self-awareness, their powers of discernment, and their ability to think and write about the question, “What is the good life?” This course teaches students to write proficiently in a variety of formats, following a process approach to writing that covers description, narration, exposition, and argumentation. In this process, students learn to read proficiently and think critically on a wide range of topics concerning multiculturalism and ethnic diasporas in the U.S. and Latin America. In engaging these multi-layered questions, students learn to interrogate the protracted impact of human agency (brokenness and hope) in God’s created world, and how this might condition or suggest definitions of the Christian “good life.” The course suggests various definitions of the “good life” by encouraging students to look into the complex diversity of the human condition in different times and places. It cultivates the patient practice of close reading and deep thinking, thus disrupting shallow habits of swift judgment and instant gratification. Students learn to employ basic linguistic concepts in different writing styles in Spanish, and to tailor their style for different purposes and audiences. This course is taught in Spanish and requires Spanish proficiency.

In Thinking and Writing courses, students develop their self-awareness, their powers of discernment, and their ability to think and write about the question, “What is the good life?” One component of the good life has to do with what humans desire and need from domestic spaces they inhabit. In Thinking and Writing: Longing for a Good Home, students will encounter texts and questions which expect them to engage with the tension between nostalgia (longing to return home) and prophetic imagination (dreams for a future home). Students will practice composing rhetorical analyses, exploratory commentary, and academic research essays while engaging with popular texts which claim various ideals of a good home, including popular television episodes which recreate idealized domestic environments and home-and-hearth style magazines which orient social desire to styles and commodities of household design and decoration. Students will compose an autobiographical narrative related to longing for a bygone time, object, or place in their own lives. Students will also reflect upon the experience of sojourning as a human mode of existence by engaging with narratives about sojourning in Old Testament stories, Jesus’s ministry, and in contemporary podcast and memoir publications.

In Thinking and Writing courses, students develop their self-awareness, their powers of discernment, and their ability to think and write about the question, “What is the good life?” In Thinking and Writing: The People, Language and Culture of Indonesia, students will grow in their capacities as creative thinkers and writers through engagement with the language, culture, and life of the people of Indonesia. Indonesia is the fourth largest country in the world, after China, India, and the United States. With over 17,000 islands, more than 300 ethnic groups, and about 264 million people, Indonesia has a lot to offer to the world. In this course, students will communicate effectively by learning basics of the Indonesian language, writing on what they learn, presenting on particular aspects of the Indonesian people’s lives and cultures, and working on creative projects that reflect their learning experience. By learning about people, culture, and language of Indonesia, students will together celebrate God’s creation, particularly in His works in, for, and through the country of Indonesia. Students will be equipped to respond to God joyfully, appreciate their neighbors truthfully, and enrich their own lives wholeheartedly.

In Thinking and Writing courses, students develop their self-awareness, their powers of discernment, and their ability to think and write about the question, “What is the good life?” Thinking and Writing: Self, Society, and Social Justice unites a focus on the good of the individual (each student’s understanding of themselves as called as gifted in particular ways) with a focus on social and communal good. Through encountering various Christian figures whose active, thoughtful, and deeply Christian contributions to social justice, past and present, students are challenged to consider what God’s call to “do justice and love mercy” could look like in their own lives and communities. Students will engage a deeper understanding of social justice, or its absence, and the world around them, with the goal of understanding and effectively participating in God’s redemptive action in the area of social good. As we investigate social justice concerns and various models for understanding social good, we will also explore our own social connections, using the discipline of writing to aid in understanding our own identity and calling, as well as to advocate for and contribute to the well-being of our communities.

In Thinking and Writing courses, students develop their self-awareness, their powers of discernment, and their ability to think and write about the question, “What is the good life?” In Thinking and Writing: When Tragedy Strikes, What Is the Good Life, students consider the question of how should societies respond when terrible things happen in order to ensure continued happiness, prosperity, and flourishing for its members. In particular, this course studies how works of dystopian fiction answer that question in an effort to sharpen our own sense of how to respond to living in a fallen world. Is the answer more government control? More individual freedom? Economic equality? Economic Darwinism? Abandoning religion? Religious revival? In an effort to think deeply about these questions, students will read, think about, discuss, and write about representative examples of dystopian fiction written by authors from a diverse set of religious and philosophical backgrounds. Students will examine fictional worlds in an effort to shed light on their place both in Creation and the smaller communities in which they live.

In Thinking and Writing courses, students develop their self-awareness, their powers of discernment, and their ability to think and write about the question, “What is the good life?” Thinking and Writing: Imagination and Community (Honors) is designed to challenge Honors students to read, think, and write beyond the bounds of their previous experience and to think about and enjoy writing in new ways. In Imagination and Community, students share their own stories, hear the stories of others, consider story in Christian perspective, and reflect on the nature of story in light of shared human experience. Students also engage the essential role of imagination in our thinking, reading, and writing, as we consider the world, ourselves, and our community in new ways. Imagination and Community seeks to instill in students practices of intentionally building a strong group dynamic, of carefully listening to and thoughtfully responding to the work of others, and of imaginative approaches to reading and writing. It takes as its starting point Wendell Berry’s injunction, “We do not have to live as if we are alone.”

Students do local or Chicago-based coursework with a significant community component. They participate in collaborative work that involves reflection, deliberation, and practice in an off-campus initiative.  These courses are taken during sophomore or junior year.

In this course, students will study literary works written in or about Chicago during the last 150 years, including poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and drama; and a portion of the course will also consider the development of Chicago blues. In addition to studying a diverse body of Chicago-based literature, students will take regular excursions to area locations pertaining to the works they are studying, such as the Carl Sandburg House, the neighborhoods of Humboldt Park and Hyde Park, the Hall Library, the Lorraine Hansberry House, the Ernest Hemingway Birthplace, and various sites associated with Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie and Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City. Students will also have an opportunity to hear live blues in a downtown venue and to attend a performance of a play. Assignments will be based on both literary analysis and field experience.

This course examines how the political climate of Illinois, including racial and socioeconomic disparity, plays into the quality of life available for people with disabilities. While we believe that all persons were created in God’s image, this group of people is often is treated as “other” and stigmatized rather than being treated as a beautiful and purposeful gift from God. Students will study the history that Illinois has made in the world of disability from the first college wheelchair basketball team to medical research facilities specializing in disabilities. Students will connect and interact with individuals with disabilities living in the surrounding community to build relationships and understanding, as well as read personal stories about individuals with disabilities. Students will also partner with advocacy groups, business leaders, researchers, and politicians to learn about the climate of disability in Chicago and examine practices in every environment, such as Section 504 laws, American Disabilities Act (ADA), and Universal Design for Learning.

In this course, students will trace the history of human occupation of latitude 41.7076 degrees north, longitude 87.5942 degrees west, or the Pullman neighborhood of Chicago. Early weeks of the course consider the natural features of the land 500 years ago, and use of the land by Midwestern Native American groups. The course will then examine the growth of Chicago and Midwestern industry in the late 19th century, the building of the model town of Pullman by George Pullman and the Pullman Palace Car Company, and the violent strike of 1894.  Along with studying the town’s incorporation into the city of Chicago and post-World War II deindustrialization, students will also examine the neighborhood today, the people who live there, and their community identity, economic pursuits, and relationship to surrounding neighborhoods and to the city itself.

This course fosters understanding in how the field of theatre has been shaped by people with Chicago roots or connections. Students will attend several live theatrical productions in a variety of theatre companies within the city of Chicago, and read five nationally-recognized plays written by people who have called Chicago home for a significant period of time. In studying how Chicago theatre is contextualized within larger national and global contexts, students will experience theatrical productions that are generated in Chicago, that are brought to Chicago from New York, and that are brought to Chicago from another country. Students will also study how theatre in Chicago addresses contemporary social issues including racism, gender inequity, classism, abuse of power, disability access, technological advancements, among others. An additional course fee of $375 will cover the costs of tickets, travel, food, and guest speakers.

In this course, students will draw from the theoretical and methodological traditions of the Chicago School of Sociology in examining the interactive relationship between the people, culture, and physical spaces of Chicago’s neighborhoods. We will explore issues of individualism and community, a central tension in modern social life, and examine how people live and interact in complex urban environments within a globalized world. Students will also consider how urban design and public policy might promote just and equitable urban neighborhoods and opportunities. In addition, through an in-depth look at housing issues, we will consider what it means to be in community – drawing from the belief that we are created as social beings in need of connection with others – and ask how we can best care for others within highly concentrated and diverse contexts.

This course focuses on the importance of the relationship between persons and institutions in the built environment as it relates to the development of Chicago. The first half of the course asks the question: “What is the city as it is?” by looking at the history of Chicago as an exemplary American city, and investigating aspects of its underlying culture, with its social, economic, and political foundations. The second half of the course asks the question: “What is the city as it should be?” To answer this question, students explore alternative models of urban planning designed to change how people experience place in the built environment. The course also explores restorative efforts to renew the city based on the call to work for social justice and the desire for a Biblical shalom (nothing broken, nothing missing) in the city.

This course introduces students to the criminal justice field, practices of restorative justice, and contemporary movements for social justice in the United States and more specifically in Chicago. Students will explore how race, poverty, and inequality impact individuals and community experiences with the criminal justice system. Through visits and conversations with community organizers, advocates, and practitioners across the city, the course looks at how communities address issues related to injustice. The course is immersion intensive, where each week students explore, observe, engage in, and research Chicago, including the neighborhoods of Uptown, Lakeview, North Lawndale, Rogers Park, and Pilsen. Course assignments also engage students in exploring issues of racial segregation across the city, criminal justice reform practices, and analysis of a contemporary justice issue encountered in the city.

This course explores the habits, commitments, and histories of four major religious traditions: Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. The course enables students to identify and articulate key concepts and practices, especially as related to salvation, that form and encapsulate how Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists (and others, as time allows) experience and inhabit reality. Students are also empowered to identify and articulate how these traditions, due to God’s revelation centered in Christ, are both similar to and different from each other and from Christian ways of life, especially with regard to salvation.

Students study a shared topic, theme, or question from multiple disciplinary perspectives. Engagement with multiple disciplinary perspectives enable students to practice critical listening, productive disagreement, and love for one’s neighbor. These course are taken during the sophomore or junior year.

In Interdisciplinary Inquiry courses, students engage with a shared topic, theme, or question from multiple disciplinary perspectives, with an emphasis on practicing critical listening, productive disagreement, and love for one’s neighbor. In this course, students will encounter a range of literary works of science fiction through the lens of the real science presupposed by each work. Students will practice two distinct modes of scholarly inquiry (scientific and literary) and will collaborate to write according to the expectations of both disciplines.

In Interdisciplinary Inquiry courses, students engage with a shared topic, theme, or question from multiple disciplinary perspectives, with an emphasis on practicing critical listening, productive disagreement, and love for one’s neighbor. In this course, students will explore the interconnections among three primary areas of human experience: mind, body, and spirit. Students will encounter a variety of intellectual, physical, and spiritual practices and will be expected to consider them with an open mind. Students’ work will include community engagement and promoting holistic wellness on campus or in the wider community.

In Interdisciplinary Inquiry courses, students engage with a shared topic, theme, or question from multiple disciplinary perspectives, with an emphasis on practicing critical listening, productive disagreement, and love for one’s neighbor. In this course, students will explore the social trends and historical patterns that affect policing in the United States and apply these insights to analyze a variety of specific historical events. Students will learn from guests who were witnesses to some of these events, engage each other in debate, and collaborate to craft alternative solutions.

In Interdisciplinary Inquiry courses, students engage with a shared topic, theme, or question from multiple disciplinary perspectives, with an emphasis on practicing critical listening, productive disagreement, and love for one’s neighbor. In this course, students will explore questions, theories, and ideas that influence our society’s understanding of formal learning, with particular attention to the historical and contemporary intersections of Christian faith, the church, and public and private education. Students will engage in practices of learning drawn from the disciplines of education and philosophy.

In Interdisciplinary Inquiry courses, students engage with a shared topic, theme, or question from multiple disciplinary perspectives, with an emphasis on practicing critical listening, productive disagreement, and love for one’s neighbor. In this course, students will wrestle with questions at the intersection of biology and theology, particularly on the topic of human evolution. Students will engage in practices and methodologies from both disciplines, and will collaborate in preparing, presenting, and responding to seminar papers on the course readings. Final course projects will engage a wider community in the issues related to theology and human evolution.

In Interdisciplinary Inquiry courses, students engage with a shared topic, theme, or question from multiple disciplinary perspectives, with an emphasis on practicing critical listening, productive disagreement, and love for one’s neighbor. In this course, students will encounter Biblical, historical-social, and contemporary local perspectives on poverty. Through shared readings, class discussion, theological writing, collaborative group work, and visits to several Chicago-area nonprofit organizations, students will articulate a vision for confronting poverty in our local community.

In Interdisciplinary Inquiry courses, students engage with a shared topic, theme, or question from multiple disciplinary perspectives, with an emphasis on practicing critical listening, productive disagreement, and love for one’s neighbor. In this course, students will strengthen their abilities in worldview analysis from a Christian perspective through a specific focus on philosophical issues related to human nature and to vocation understood broadly as Christian calling in human life and society. Various philosophical and theological models for understanding vocation are applied to contemporary social issues, matters of personal concern, and interests related to students’ majors.  This course fulfills the Foundations requirement in Interdisciplinary Inquiry.

In Interdisciplinary Inquiry courses, students engage with a shared topic, theme, or question from multiple disciplinary perspectives, with an emphasis on practicing critical listening, productive disagreement, and love for one’s neighbor. In this course, students will explore what is included in health, what care people deserve, and the implications of technologies and policies that support or impinge upon our care of people. Students will draw on resources from philosophical ethics, theology, science, critical race theory, disability studies, gender/sexuality studies, and medical professions to connect historical accounts with ongoing realities, situate individual responsibility within social and institutional structures, and link personal growth to the active practice of loving our neighbors. This course fulfills the Foundations requirement in Interdisciplinary Inquiry.

+ FOUNDATIONS

Required of all incoming students during their first semester of studies, FDN 101 or FDN 111 is designed to help new students transition academically and socially into the life of Trinity. In FDN 201, students learn habits and practices that form and maintain a public and professional identity while also engaging in critical reflection on those habits and practices. The course prepares them for service to God’s kingdom in a number of areas, including the world of work, church participation, and civic responsibilities.

This course introduces first time, first-year students to Trinity’s Christian learning community. It provides incoming students with the opportunity to connect with faculty, staff, and current students while considering the College’s Christian perspective on learning, commitments to community life, and understanding of service. Intensive learning experiences occur before the start of the regular semester and continue through the eighth week of classes. This course is offered only in the fall semester. First-time, first-year students entering in the spring semester take FDN 111.

This required one-credit Foundations course introduces sophomore-level or higher transfer students (fall or spring) and first-year students (spring) to the mission of the College and their academic program. It provides incoming students with the opportunity to connect with faculty, staff, and students while considering the College’s Christian perspective on learning and commitment to community life. This course takes place during the day prior to the regular semester schedule and the first four weeks of the semester.

God has designed students as creative beings, called to bring about flourishing in all vocational settings. Students need courage and creativity to take up a variety of roles in His kingdom. This course will address key transitions for sophomores that center on personal development, leadership, spiritual growth, and communication skills. Students will learn habits and practices that form and maintain a public and professional identity while also engaging in critical reflection on those habits and practices. Cultivating in students a vocational, whole-person perspective, the course will prepare them for service in a number of areas, including the world of work, church participation, and neighborhood/local community.

+ THINKING AND WRITING

Students study topics and issues that engage a variety of audiences in contemporary public life, addressing the question “What is the good life?” Engagement with course content will involve attention to students’ processes of thinking and to the process of writing.   These courses are taken during freshman or sophomore year.

In Thinking and Writing courses, students develop their self-awareness, their powers of discernment, and their ability to think and write about the question, “What is the good life?” In Thinking and Writing: The Arthurian Tradition, students take up this question in the context of one of the most enduring of literary traditions in the English language, the grand narrative of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. For centuries, audiences have been entranced by the exploits of the legend’s evocative character — Arthur; Merlin; Lancelot and Guinevere; Galahad; Tristan and Isolde; Morgan Le Fey; Sir Gawain; the Lady of the Lake; the Fisher King—as generations of writers, artists, composers, and filmmakers have retold and embellished its many stories. In this course, we shall undertake a studied and unhurried exploration of the Arthurian tradition, tracing the development of a myth from its earliest medieval articulations through its most recent settings in popular fiction and film. Giving special attention to the national, religious, and sexual resonances that the stories have accrued as they have been re-imagined at different historical moments, we shall seek to understand why it is that this particular legend has endured for so long, and why it continues to mesmerize audiences today. Throughout our study, we will consider the good life in light of such Arthurian themes as the ideal society, courtly love, fellowship, and nostalgia for an irrecoverable past.

In Thinking and Writing courses, students develop their self-awareness, their powers of discernment, and their ability to think and write about the question, “What is the good life?” In Thinking and Writing: Communities and the Good Life, students will examine the role that community life and community institutions (family, neighborhood, church, local businesses, local government, etc.) play in forming one’s identity and character. The course takes as its starting point the communities in which students themselves have lived and to think about these in light of both individual and communal formation. The course then asks students to consider how people lived in community in other times and places, with the hope that their vision of the good life would be enlarged by considering how people lived in community in other times and places. Students will further consider and probe more communal understandings of human flourishing than are presented by modern popular culture and society. Listening to others’ stories is a way of loving one’s neighbor, both one’s neighbor who lives today and one’s neighbor who lives in the past. Ongoing engagement with the question “what is the good life” will further enable students to broaden their understanding of vocation and consider how it connects to their past experiences and hopes for the future.

In Thinking and Writing courses, students develop their self-awareness, their powers of discernment, and their ability to think and write about the question, “What is the good life?” This course teaches students to write proficiently in a variety of formats, following a process approach to writing that covers description, narration, exposition, and argumentation. In this process, students learn to read proficiently and think critically on a wide range of topics concerning multiculturalism and ethnic diasporas in the U.S. and Latin America. In engaging these multi-layered questions, students learn to interrogate the protracted impact of human agency (brokenness and hope) in God’s created world, and how this might condition or suggest definitions of the Christian “good life.” The course suggests various definitions of the “good life” by encouraging students to look into the complex diversity of the human condition in different times and places. It cultivates the patient practice of close reading and deep thinking, thus disrupting shallow habits of swift judgment and instant gratification. Students learn to employ basic linguistic concepts in different writing styles in Spanish, and to tailor their style for different purposes and audiences. This course is taught in Spanish and requires Spanish proficiency.

In Thinking and Writing courses, students develop their self-awareness, their powers of discernment, and their ability to think and write about the question, “What is the good life?” In Thinking and Writing: Disability and Community—Thriving Together, students will engage such questions as: What does it mean to thrive within a community in which the members have a variety of abilities? How can I fully engage a workplace in which my colleagues or clients have abilities that differ from my own? How can I advocate for inclusion and belonging in my place of worship? How can I learn from and serve alongside classmates who process the world differently than I do? This course will examine disability through a variety of lenses, while helping participants consider a perspective of community in which all members are valuable. Participants will contemplate the Biblical perspective of disability by reflecting on Jesus’s model of healing in the Gospels. In order to experience the richness of our community with people who share and differ from participants based on ability, the class will engage with a variety of individuals with disabilities and their family members. Alongside these experiences, students will explore disability historical perspectives, stigma, theory, identity, labeling, and culture. As a student, how will you respond? You have an opportunity to contribute to the flourishing of the communities that you belong to. Can you find the J.O.Y. in disability within your community and thrive together?

In Thinking and Writing courses, students develop their self-awareness, their powers of discernment, and their ability to think and write about the question, “What is the good life?” This course teaches students to write proficiently in a variety of formats, following a process approach to writing that covers description, narration, exposition, and argumentation. In this process, students learn to read proficiently and think critically on a wide range of topics concerning multiculturalism and ethnic diasporas in the U.S. and Latin America. In engaging these multi-layered questions, students learn to interrogate the protracted impact of human agency (brokenness and hope) in God’s created world, and how this might condition or suggest definitions of the Christian “good life.” The course suggests various definitions of the “good life” by encouraging students to look into the complex diversity of the human condition in different times and places. It cultivates the patient practice of close reading and deep thinking, thus disrupting shallow habits of swift judgment and instant gratification. Students learn to employ basic linguistic concepts in different writing styles in Spanish, and to tailor their style for different purposes and audiences. This course is taught in Spanish and requires Spanish proficiency.

In Thinking and Writing courses, students develop their self-awareness, their powers of discernment, and their ability to think and write about the question, “What is the good life?” One component of the good life has to do with what humans desire and need from domestic spaces they inhabit. In Thinking and Writing: Longing for a Good Home, students will encounter texts and questions which expect them to engage with the tension between nostalgia (longing to return home) and prophetic imagination (dreams for a future home). Students will practice composing rhetorical analyses, exploratory commentary, and academic research essays while engaging with popular texts which claim various ideals of a good home, including popular television episodes which recreate idealized domestic environments and home-and-hearth style magazines which orient social desire to styles and commodities of household design and decoration. Students will compose an autobiographical narrative related to longing for a bygone time, object, or place in their own lives. Students will also reflect upon the experience of sojourning as a human mode of existence by engaging with narratives about sojourning in Old Testament stories, Jesus’s ministry, and in contemporary podcast and memoir publications.

In Thinking and Writing courses, students develop their self-awareness, their powers of discernment, and their ability to think and write about the question, “What is the good life?” In Thinking and Writing: The People, Language and Culture of Indonesia, students will grow in their capacities as creative thinkers and writers through engagement with the language, culture, and life of the people of Indonesia. Indonesia is the fourth largest country in the world, after China, India, and the United States. With over 17,000 islands, more than 300 ethnic groups, and about 264 million people, Indonesia has a lot to offer to the world. In this course, students will communicate effectively by learning basics of the Indonesian language, writing on what they learn, presenting on particular aspects of the Indonesian people’s lives and cultures, and working on creative projects that reflect their learning experience. By learning about people, culture, and language of Indonesia, students will together celebrate God’s creation, particularly in His works in, for, and through the country of Indonesia. Students will be equipped to respond to God joyfully, appreciate their neighbors truthfully, and enrich their own lives wholeheartedly.

In Thinking and Writing courses, students develop their self-awareness, their powers of discernment, and their ability to think and write about the question, “What is the good life?” Thinking and Writing: Self, Society, and Social Justice unites a focus on the good of the individual (each student’s understanding of themselves as called as gifted in particular ways) with a focus on social and communal good. Through encountering various Christian figures whose active, thoughtful, and deeply Christian contributions to social justice, past and present, students are challenged to consider what God’s call to “do justice and love mercy” could look like in their own lives and communities. Students will engage a deeper understanding of social justice, or its absence, and the world around them, with the goal of understanding and effectively participating in God’s redemptive action in the area of social good. As we investigate social justice concerns and various models for understanding social good, we will also explore our own social connections, using the discipline of writing to aid in understanding our own identity and calling, as well as to advocate for and contribute to the well-being of our communities.

In Thinking and Writing courses, students develop their self-awareness, their powers of discernment, and their ability to think and write about the question, “What is the good life?” In Thinking and Writing: When Tragedy Strikes, What Is the Good Life, students consider the question of how should societies respond when terrible things happen in order to ensure continued happiness, prosperity, and flourishing for its members. In particular, this course studies how works of dystopian fiction answer that question in an effort to sharpen our own sense of how to respond to living in a fallen world. Is the answer more government control? More individual freedom? Economic equality? Economic Darwinism? Abandoning religion? Religious revival? In an effort to think deeply about these questions, students will read, think about, discuss, and write about representative examples of dystopian fiction written by authors from a diverse set of religious and philosophical backgrounds. Students will examine fictional worlds in an effort to shed light on their place both in Creation and the smaller communities in which they live.

In Thinking and Writing courses, students develop their self-awareness, their powers of discernment, and their ability to think and write about the question, “What is the good life?” Thinking and Writing: Imagination and Community (Honors) is designed to challenge Honors students to read, think, and write beyond the bounds of their previous experience and to think about and enjoy writing in new ways. In Imagination and Community, students share their own stories, hear the stories of others, consider story in Christian perspective, and reflect on the nature of story in light of shared human experience. Students also engage the essential role of imagination in our thinking, reading, and writing, as we consider the world, ourselves, and our community in new ways. Imagination and Community seeks to instill in students practices of intentionally building a strong group dynamic, of carefully listening to and thoughtfully responding to the work of others, and of imaginative approaches to reading and writing. It takes as its starting point Wendell Berry’s injunction, “We do not have to live as if we are alone.”

+ CHICAGO CONNECT

Students do local or Chicago-based coursework with a significant community component. They participate in collaborative work that involves reflection, deliberation, and practice in an off-campus initiative.  These courses are taken during sophomore or junior year.

In this course, students will study literary works written in or about Chicago during the last 150 years, including poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and drama; and a portion of the course will also consider the development of Chicago blues. In addition to studying a diverse body of Chicago-based literature, students will take regular excursions to area locations pertaining to the works they are studying, such as the Carl Sandburg House, the neighborhoods of Humboldt Park and Hyde Park, the Hall Library, the Lorraine Hansberry House, the Ernest Hemingway Birthplace, and various sites associated with Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie and Erik Larson’s The Devil in the White City. Students will also have an opportunity to hear live blues in a downtown venue and to attend a performance of a play. Assignments will be based on both literary analysis and field experience.

This course examines how the political climate of Illinois, including racial and socioeconomic disparity, plays into the quality of life available for people with disabilities. While we believe that all persons were created in God’s image, this group of people is often is treated as “other” and stigmatized rather than being treated as a beautiful and purposeful gift from God. Students will study the history that Illinois has made in the world of disability from the first college wheelchair basketball team to medical research facilities specializing in disabilities. Students will connect and interact with individuals with disabilities living in the surrounding community to build relationships and understanding, as well as read personal stories about individuals with disabilities. Students will also partner with advocacy groups, business leaders, researchers, and politicians to learn about the climate of disability in Chicago and examine practices in every environment, such as Section 504 laws, American Disabilities Act (ADA), and Universal Design for Learning.

In this course, students will trace the history of human occupation of latitude 41.7076 degrees north, longitude 87.5942 degrees west, or the Pullman neighborhood of Chicago. Early weeks of the course consider the natural features of the land 500 years ago, and use of the land by Midwestern Native American groups. The course will then examine the growth of Chicago and Midwestern industry in the late 19th century, the building of the model town of Pullman by George Pullman and the Pullman Palace Car Company, and the violent strike of 1894.  Along with studying the town’s incorporation into the city of Chicago and post-World War II deindustrialization, students will also examine the neighborhood today, the people who live there, and their community identity, economic pursuits, and relationship to surrounding neighborhoods and to the city itself.

This course fosters understanding in how the field of theatre has been shaped by people with Chicago roots or connections. Students will attend several live theatrical productions in a variety of theatre companies within the city of Chicago, and read five nationally-recognized plays written by people who have called Chicago home for a significant period of time. In studying how Chicago theatre is contextualized within larger national and global contexts, students will experience theatrical productions that are generated in Chicago, that are brought to Chicago from New York, and that are brought to Chicago from another country. Students will also study how theatre in Chicago addresses contemporary social issues including racism, gender inequity, classism, abuse of power, disability access, technological advancements, among others. An additional course fee of $375 will cover the costs of tickets, travel, food, and guest speakers.

In this course, students will draw from the theoretical and methodological traditions of the Chicago School of Sociology in examining the interactive relationship between the people, culture, and physical spaces of Chicago’s neighborhoods. We will explore issues of individualism and community, a central tension in modern social life, and examine how people live and interact in complex urban environments within a globalized world. Students will also consider how urban design and public policy might promote just and equitable urban neighborhoods and opportunities. In addition, through an in-depth look at housing issues, we will consider what it means to be in community – drawing from the belief that we are created as social beings in need of connection with others – and ask how we can best care for others within highly concentrated and diverse contexts.

This course focuses on the importance of the relationship between persons and institutions in the built environment as it relates to the development of Chicago. The first half of the course asks the question: “What is the city as it is?” by looking at the history of Chicago as an exemplary American city, and investigating aspects of its underlying culture, with its social, economic, and political foundations. The second half of the course asks the question: “What is the city as it should be?” To answer this question, students explore alternative models of urban planning designed to change how people experience place in the built environment. The course also explores restorative efforts to renew the city based on the call to work for social justice and the desire for a Biblical shalom (nothing broken, nothing missing) in the city.

This course introduces students to the criminal justice field, practices of restorative justice, and contemporary movements for social justice in the United States and more specifically in Chicago. Students will explore how race, poverty, and inequality impact individuals and community experiences with the criminal justice system. Through visits and conversations with community organizers, advocates, and practitioners across the city, the course looks at how communities address issues related to injustice. The course is immersion intensive, where each week students explore, observe, engage in, and research Chicago, including the neighborhoods of Uptown, Lakeview, North Lawndale, Rogers Park, and Pilsen. Course assignments also engage students in exploring issues of racial segregation across the city, criminal justice reform practices, and analysis of a contemporary justice issue encountered in the city.

This course explores the habits, commitments, and histories of four major religious traditions: Judaism, Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism. The course enables students to identify and articulate key concepts and practices, especially as related to salvation, that form and encapsulate how Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists (and others, as time allows) experience and inhabit reality. Students are also empowered to identify and articulate how these traditions, due to God’s revelation centered in Christ, are both similar to and different from each other and from Christian ways of life, especially with regard to salvation.

+ INTERDISCIPLINARY INQUIRY

Students study a shared topic, theme, or question from multiple disciplinary perspectives. Engagement with multiple disciplinary perspectives enable students to practice critical listening, productive disagreement, and love for one’s neighbor. These course are taken during the sophomore or junior year.

In Interdisciplinary Inquiry courses, students engage with a shared topic, theme, or question from multiple disciplinary perspectives, with an emphasis on practicing critical listening, productive disagreement, and love for one’s neighbor. In this course, students will encounter a range of literary works of science fiction through the lens of the real science presupposed by each work. Students will practice two distinct modes of scholarly inquiry (scientific and literary) and will collaborate to write according to the expectations of both disciplines.

In Interdisciplinary Inquiry courses, students engage with a shared topic, theme, or question from multiple disciplinary perspectives, with an emphasis on practicing critical listening, productive disagreement, and love for one’s neighbor. In this course, students will explore the interconnections among three primary areas of human experience: mind, body, and spirit. Students will encounter a variety of intellectual, physical, and spiritual practices and will be expected to consider them with an open mind. Students’ work will include community engagement and promoting holistic wellness on campus or in the wider community.

In Interdisciplinary Inquiry courses, students engage with a shared topic, theme, or question from multiple disciplinary perspectives, with an emphasis on practicing critical listening, productive disagreement, and love for one’s neighbor. In this course, students will explore the social trends and historical patterns that affect policing in the United States and apply these insights to analyze a variety of specific historical events. Students will learn from guests who were witnesses to some of these events, engage each other in debate, and collaborate to craft alternative solutions.

In Interdisciplinary Inquiry courses, students engage with a shared topic, theme, or question from multiple disciplinary perspectives, with an emphasis on practicing critical listening, productive disagreement, and love for one’s neighbor. In this course, students will explore questions, theories, and ideas that influence our society’s understanding of formal learning, with particular attention to the historical and contemporary intersections of Christian faith, the church, and public and private education. Students will engage in practices of learning drawn from the disciplines of education and philosophy.

In Interdisciplinary Inquiry courses, students engage with a shared topic, theme, or question from multiple disciplinary perspectives, with an emphasis on practicing critical listening, productive disagreement, and love for one’s neighbor. In this course, students will wrestle with questions at the intersection of biology and theology, particularly on the topic of human evolution. Students will engage in practices and methodologies from both disciplines, and will collaborate in preparing, presenting, and responding to seminar papers on the course readings. Final course projects will engage a wider community in the issues related to theology and human evolution.

In Interdisciplinary Inquiry courses, students engage with a shared topic, theme, or question from multiple disciplinary perspectives, with an emphasis on practicing critical listening, productive disagreement, and love for one’s neighbor. In this course, students will encounter Biblical, historical-social, and contemporary local perspectives on poverty. Through shared readings, class discussion, theological writing, collaborative group work, and visits to several Chicago-area nonprofit organizations, students will articulate a vision for confronting poverty in our local community.

In Interdisciplinary Inquiry courses, students engage with a shared topic, theme, or question from multiple disciplinary perspectives, with an emphasis on practicing critical listening, productive disagreement, and love for one’s neighbor. In this course, students will strengthen their abilities in worldview analysis from a Christian perspective through a specific focus on philosophical issues related to human nature and to vocation understood broadly as Christian calling in human life and society. Various philosophical and theological models for understanding vocation are applied to contemporary social issues, matters of personal concern, and interests related to students’ majors.  This course fulfills the Foundations requirement in Interdisciplinary Inquiry.

In Interdisciplinary Inquiry courses, students engage with a shared topic, theme, or question from multiple disciplinary perspectives, with an emphasis on practicing critical listening, productive disagreement, and love for one’s neighbor. In this course, students will explore what is included in health, what care people deserve, and the implications of technologies and policies that support or impinge upon our care of people. Students will draw on resources from philosophical ethics, theology, science, critical race theory, disability studies, gender/sexuality studies, and medical professions to connect historical accounts with ongoing realities, situate individual responsibility within social and institutional structures, and link personal growth to the active practice of loving our neighbors. This course fulfills the Foundations requirement in Interdisciplinary Inquiry.

POSSIBLE PATHWAY THROUGH FOUNDATIONS*

First Year

Fall Semester
FDN 101: Thrive
Thinking and Writing
HIST 105: Historical Consciousness or PHIL 101: Philosophical Perspectives in Worldview
THEO 131: Christian Scriptures

One from:

  • COMM 105: Oral and Digital Communication
  • Fine Arts
  • Social Science

Spring Semester
ENGL 105: Literature and Society
HIST 105 or PHIL 101
THEO 132: The Body of Christ and its Traditions

One from:

  • COMM 105
  • Fine Arts
  • Social Science

Second Year or Third Year

Fall Semester
Fine Arts
Interdisciplinary Inquiry
SCI 102: Scientific Thinking
Social Science
Wellness (May be two 1-credit courses or one 2-credit course)
World Cultures [or Language: SPAN 101*]

Spring Semester
FDN 201: Courage, Creativity, and Calling

Fourth Year

Any uncompleted Foundations courses
Capstone in major, including Foundations assessment

* There are some majors where following a course of study like this is impractical or impossible, and some departments have developed their own pathway through Foundations and their major.

FOUNDATIONS LEARNING OUTCOMES

Grounded

The pursuit of academic learning is a gift from God. Christians pursue learning simultaneously as an act of love for God, whose glory is revealed in all creation, and an act of love for the world, for whose sake God has called His people into being. Learning is also always done in community; education cannot be done properly without the support of friends, the challenge of classmates, and the leadership of teachers. But all of that support, challenge, and leadership has worship as its fuel. We worship as we study and we study as we worship. We do all of it together.

Students Will:

Cultivate a livelier faith in the triune God, a stronger hope for the kingdom of God, and a deeper love for the world, self, neighbor, and God.

Students Will:

Undertake, in community, academic practices that form the whole person in response to God.

Students Will:

Grow in understanding of the Biblical narrative of God’s work in the world.

Students Will:

Weigh historical and contemporary worldviews in light of a Reformed Christian worldview.

+ ONE

Students Will:

Cultivate a livelier faith in the triune God, a stronger hope for the kingdom of God, and a deeper love for the world, self, neighbor, and God.

+ TWO

Students Will:

Undertake, in community, academic practices that form the whole person in response to God.

+ THREE

Students Will:

Grow in understanding of the Biblical narrative of God’s work in the world.

+ FOUR

Students Will:

Weigh historical and contemporary worldviews in light of a Reformed Christian worldview.

Engaged

Meaningful work is a gift from God. The fast-paced, global, interconnected, knowledge economy requires that students master skills that are broadly applicable across many occupations. Trinity’s Foundations curriculum provides students with multiple opportunities to practice and develop these vital skills. At the same time, this practice and development cultivates student discernment of skills’ appropriate use, faithful and holistic living, and service to Christ and society.

Students Will:

Evaluate and apply different disciplinary ways of knowing and make cross-disciplinary connections.

Students Will:

Communicate effectively in written, oral, and digital formats.

Students Will:

Construct and critique arguments rigorously.

Students Will:

Integrate, synthesize, and apply knowledge and information creatively.

Students Will:

Work collaboratively with peers, mentors, and the broader community.

+ FIVE

Students Will:

Evaluate and apply different disciplinary ways of knowing and make cross-disciplinary connections.

+ SIX

Students Will:

Communicate effectively in written, oral, and digital formats.

+ SEVEN

Students Will:

Construct and critique arguments rigorously.

+ EIGHT

Students Will:

Integrate, synthesize, and apply knowledge and information creatively.

+ NINE

Students Will:

Work collaboratively with peers, mentors, and the broader community.

Called

The world in which we live is a gift from God. While the goodness of creation is evident, so are the wide-ranging effects of selfishness, injustice, and violence that result from human sin. God calls His people to serve their neighbors, including those in their family, church, neighborhood, civic, and even global communities. Students at Trinity learn how to participate in God’s calling in pursuit of shalom. This participation will be primarily, but not exclusively, acted out in the city and suburbs of Chicago.

Students Will:

Build relationships and understanding with people of racial, ethnic, gender, socioeconomic, and religious identities other than their own.

Students Will:

Celebrate gifts and address challenges within a local and global context.

Students Will:

Engage the created world and human culture with curiosity and creativity.

Students Will:

Develop vocations that include and extend beyond career or work.

+ TEN

Students Will:

Build relationships and understanding with people of racial, ethnic, gender, socioeconomic, and religious identities other than their own.

+ ELEVEN

Students Will:

Celebrate gifts and address challenges within a local and global context.

+ TWELVE

Students Will:

Engage the created world and human culture with curiosity and creativity.

+ THIRTEEN

Students Will:

Develop vocations that include and extend beyond career or work.

john j fry profile

FACULTY FOCUS

Dr. John Fry

PROFESSOR OF HISTORY; DEPARTMENT CHAIR; ACADEMIC DEAN; DIRECTOR OF FOUNDATIONS PROGRAM

“Those who lived before us have things that they can teach us about how to view the world, how to pursue our dreams, and how to live together in community.”