The cultural diversity represented in this class is exciting! It appears to be the most culturally diverse class I have facilitated since the beginning of the MAPS program. People’s perspectives do vary a great deal, even if they think of themselves as coming from similar backgrounds. However, the diversity in our class seems to point out that our backgrounds give us “blinders” as well as unique insights. Our perceptions seem to be so conditioned by our experiences that it may be difficult to perceive and understand the intentions of artists of other times and cultures. What better illustrates this better than experiencing the rigor of our trying to understand each other in class? How much of our understanding is influenced by our noetic intent? All of it?

I have often had problems with classes that teach about “other” cultures, with the assumption that we are all coming from the same perspective; from the same culture. Art history and humanities textbooks seem very flawed to me because they speak in the same voice and yet attempt to give insights into a world of culture. This course asks you to look at an artifact and attempt to see it “as it is,” although this is next to impossible because we project so much. We learn as much about ourselves as we do others when examining and trying to understand these artifacts.

Below you will find a list of outcomes that have been determined to be the goals of our MAPS program. I thought these would be good for you to see and keep in mind while experiencing this course, which attempts to address all of these issues quite directly:

The required curriculum invites students to:

• Expand their multi-cultural focus by emphasizing global understandings that incorporate Eastern, Western and African traditions and their literature.
• Explore and clarify the meaning of community together with the values of cultural, racial and ethnic diversity, tolerance and the celebration of differences.
• Focus on the intimate connection between the liberal arts and professional work.
• Sharpen professional skills, knowledge and competencies as these pertain to effective professional leadership.
• Engage students in the educational opportunities available through computer technology, including building group identity and a sense of community.

Focused on Outcomes
After successfully completing the MAPS program, students will be able to:
• Articulate more clearly their own system of values and understand how they affect workplace and community decisions and actions.
• Apply the thinking tools of the liberal arts to the practical day-to-day challenges faced at work or in the community.
• Articulate more clearly notions of community, their implications for the various communities in which we live and work, and the ways
in which the student is part of the global community.
• Define theories of change and apply that thinking to real-life problems.
• Compare and contrast philosophies concerning faiths from several cultures.
• Devise practical approaches to issues using tools learned in the program.
• Use the communication capabilities of a computer.