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Structured Liberal Education

Director: Carolyn Lougee Chappell (History)

Assistant Director: Greg Watkins

Lecturers: Yoon Sook Cha, Nicole Lopez, Jacob Mackey, Jeremy Sabol, Greg Watkins

Offices: Sweet Hall, Second Floor, and Florence Moore Hall

Mail Code: 94305-8581

Phone: (650) 725-0102


Web Site:

The Program in Structured Liberal Education (SLE) is a year-long residence-based great works course that satisfies several requirements at once: IHUM, Writing and Rhetoric (both PWR1 and PWR2), and the Disciplinary Breadth GER in Humanities. The curriculum includes works of philosophy, literature, art, and music from the ancient world to the present. The program is interdisciplinary in approach; it emphasizes intellectual rigor and individualized contact between faculty and students.

SLE has two fundamental purposes: to develop a student's ability to ask effective questions of texts, teachers, the culture, and themselves; and to develop intellectual skills in critical reading, expository writing, logical reasoning, and group discussion. SLE encourages students to live a life of ideas in an atmosphere that stresses critical thinking and a tolerance for ambiguity. Neither the instructors nor the curriculum provides ready-made answers to the questions being dealt with; rather, SLE encourages a sense of intellectual challenge, student initiative, and originality.

The residence hall is the setting for lectures and small group discussions. SLE enhances the classroom experience with other educational activities, including a weekly film series, writing tutorials, occasional special events and field trips, and a student-produced play each quarter.

Freshmen interested in enrolling in SLE should indicate this preference for their IHUM assignment. SLE is designed as a three-quarter sequence, and students are expected to make a commitment for the entire year (9 units autumn and winter, 10 units spring).

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