Foundations of Scientific Inquiry

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Director of the College Core Curriculum

Associate Professor Ertman

Director of the Foundations of Scientific Inquiry

Clinical Professor Jordan

Science and technology play such a central role in the modern world that even individuals not directly engaged in scientific or technical pursuits must have solid skills in quantitative and analytical reasoning and a clear understanding of scientific investigation. Citizens of the 21st century need competence and confidence in dealing with the approaches and findings of science if they are to make informed decisions on vital political, economic, and social issues. Rather than striving for encyclopedic coverage of facts, Foundations of Scientific Inquiry (FSI) courses in the College Core Curriculum stress the process of scientific reasoning and seek to illustrate the role of science and mathematics in our understanding of the natural world. They give students who will not be science majors a positive experience in scientific inquiry and encourage learning about how science is done. The quantitative component of these courses emphasizes the critical role of mathematics in the analysis of natural phenomena.

The courses within FSI are organized into three groups: Quantitative Reasoning, Physical Science (formerly Natural Science I), and Life Science (formerly Natural Science II). All lectures are taught by regular faculty, including some of the University’s most distinguished professors, and each course includes a weekly workshop or laboratory section.