An integral part of the University of Chicago undergraduate experience has always been the Humanities sequence in the Core curriculum. This year, a new component was added to the Humanities Core: first-year students within the same course section were primarily grouped in the same residential house. With this change, first-years have the opportunity to see their peers in both social and academic settings, living and learning together.
The Humanities (HUM) sequences are the only portion of the multidisciplinary Core curriculum that students must take as soon as they arrive on campus—creating a shared intellectual experience among students. This year, the HUM experience was updated to create more avenues for community-building during the COVID-19 pandemic.
As students embarked on their UChicago education during this unconventional year, the HUM living-learning communities allowed students to foster connections and continue learning beyond the walls of the classroom.
“As the only part of the College curriculum that all incoming students take in the first two quarters at UChicago, the HUM Core plays a pivotal role in initiating them into the College,” said Prof. Chris Wild, master of the Humanities Collegiate Division. “That includes not only our unique academic culture but also our intellectual and social community. By aligning housing with the HUM Core, we enable students to build on the bonds they form—both for their academic work as well their social life.
“Of course, COVID-19 does not allow us to harness the full potential of these newly formed learning-and-living communities. I hope we have the opportunity to try it again once the pandemic has abated. It can add significantly to the first-year experience.”