In tandem with the strategic planning process, Trinity faculty developed the Pathways curriculum to emphasize interdisciplinary learning for all students, including an intensive first-year experience program and course clusters that encourage students to investigate issues of enduring and contemporary significance through a variety of disciplinary lenses.
In the fall of 2015, Trinity implemented the Pathways curriculum. A component of Pathways is the first-year experience, where students engage in a six-hour course that focuses on a topic of extensive and lasting significance. For students enrolled in the Food Matters first-year experience, the course explored topics about food origins, food ingredients, how food is grown and by whom, and a variety of other subjects.
Students meet five days a week to hone written and oral communications skills through essays, group projects, and presentations. All first-year experiences ground students in the Trinity emphasis on strong writing skills. Students were evaluated on their ability to synthesize journal articles, nonfiction books, documentaries, and guest lectures into essays about their given topic.
At the end of the fall semester, students in the Food Matters first-year experience wrote reflective essays that challenged them to think about their dietary habits and the foods they purchase.
Christina Ellard ’19 said the course taught her to write critically about how governments are affected politically and economically by food. In the future, Ellard plans to be more cognizant about the food she consumes. “My opinion about the types of food I eat has not changed,” she says, “but I am definitely a lot more educated about where my food comes from.”