Inquiry Studies 101: Asking Questions, Making Choices

Section 04       People and their Buildings

Winter 2007




IS 101 is a first-year course which develops students’ critical inquiry and communication skills as they take responsibility for their education and actions within the context of becoming a Wartburg liberally educated person (1 cc, writing intensive, prerequisite EN 111, must be completed during the first year).


Instructor:                  Dr. Erika Lindgren

Phone:             352-8201                    

Office hours:              MF 10:45-11:45 am, T 3:00-4:00, and by appointment


Course Purpose/Description

IS 101:  Asking Questions, Making Choices is the first course in the Wartburg Plan of Essential Education.  It has been designed as an introductory level course which looks at content with the point of modeling how educated people formulate and respond to questions and choices of personal and social importance.  IS 101 is designed as a pre-disciplinary course which foregrounds broad processes of inquiry in the context of specific course content and experiences.  When students have successfully completed this course, they will have demonstrated that they have begun a lifelong journey through an educational process, a process which will help them ask (and perhaps answer) significant questions and make ethical and appropriate choices.


Half of the course is “common content”.   That is, all sections will consider and respond to the same materials and experiences designed by an interdisciplinary team of faculty members.  The other half of the course has been designed by individual faculty members and this half of each section will be unique.  This structure provides first-year students with common experiences which draw them together and also exploratory and highly individual experiences that may serve as models for personal explorations of their own.  The individual theme of this section is People and Their Buildings and a wide variety of materials and activities will be used to explore questions and choices related to this theme.  Students will also have opportunity to select and consider materials, experiences, and projects of their choice.


Course Goals and Outcomes

Both the common and individual class content are consistent with the following goals and outcomes.

Goal 1  Students will understand the primary characteristics of a liberally educated person.

•Students will articulate and describe the primary characteristics of a liberally educated person.


Goal 2  Students will become critical inquirers.

•Students will be able to identify and explain-

            the thesis of a text

            the author’s position

            the assumptions, strengths, and limitations in a text

•Students will develop information literacy by-

            designing and performing search strategies

            gathering and using appropriate information and materials for projects and assignments

            effectively evaluating the quality of information sources

•Students will assess their tolerance for ambiguity and reflect on the implications for their engagement in critical inquiry


Goal 3  Students will become more effective communicators.

•Students will demonstrate effective communication through-

            civil discourse

            small group interactions

            various kinds of writing/composition


Goal 4  Students will become responsible for their education and actions.

•Students will be able to demonstrate the attitudes and behaviors of active learners

•Students will develop an appreciation for and a commitment to continued engagement with the world beyond the classroom.

•Students will develop and utilize strategies for making successful adjustments to college life.

•Students will explore connections among their interests, aptitudes, and educational goals.



Required Text/Materials

•Common content: 

Wartburg College IS 101 Development, Instructional, and Revisions Teams (2001-2006).  IS 101 Reader: Asking Questions, Making Choices. Acton, MA:  Copley Custom Publishers (2006). 


۰Individualized materials: 

The House Book, Phaidon Press, 2001


Jeffery Howe, The Houses We Live In, 2002.


A shelter magazine of your choice.



This course is graded A-F with common content material accounting for roughly 50% of the grade and the individualized content comprising the remaining 50% (see Writing Intensive requirements below).  Your final letter grade for this course will be based on evaluations of process skills (discussion, collaborative work, participation) as well as products (written assignments, projects, evidence of process work).  Each instructor uses an individual record keeping system, but the set of grades for each segment—common and individual-- is weighted equally.  Each section will use the following cut-off percentages:  90%+=A, 80-89%=B, 70-79%=C, 60-69%=D but cut-offs for pluses and minuses may vary.  In this section, 95-100 = A, 90-94 = A-, 87-89 = B+, 83-86 = B, 80-82 = B-, and the “B” pattern continues for the rest of the grades.


Graded Assignments

Portrait of myself as a Learner  This 5-6 page paper is due in draft form on Wednesday February 7.  After conferencing with professor, students will submit a revision on February 19.


Architect Paper- This 5-6 page paper will examine the life and works of one architect [other than Frank Lloyd Wright]. Due April 2.


Final Project- This project has 4 parts.  Part 1 is a project proposal of about 3 pages, due March 19.  Part 2 is a Reflection of about 3 pages on the project turned in when you do Part 3, the presentation.  Part 4 is the final reflection, written after viewing the presentations at the final activity meeting.  All 4 parts are equally weighted. 


In-class participation and daily assignments- This class is all about communication, so you must participate by asking and answering questions, taking part in small group and all-class discussions, pulling your own weight in group projects, and general class activities.  Any short writing assignments or in class writing assignments will contribute towards this grade.


Out of class participation- Each student will attend 5 events over the course of the semester and write a typed paragraph about the event, how it contributed to their education and what they got out of it.  The paragraph must be submitted by the next class meeting after the event.  Students should pick a variety of events [political speeches, academic talks, literary readings, musical performances, dramatic performances, sporting events, and others], and should not submit more than 2 paragraphs about similar events.  Events do NOT have to be on the Wartburg campus.  In addition, all students will be required to attend Fiddler on the Roof in February.


Late work: Late work will not be accepted unless prior arrangements have been made with the professor.


Portrait of myself as a Learner paper                       20%

Architect paper                                                          20%

Final Project                                                              30%

In class Participation and daily assignments          25%

Out of class participation                                          5%



Writing Intensive

IS 101 is a writing intensive course, which means that you will write at least 20 pages or 5,000 words and at least 40% of the course grade will be based on the writing component of the course included in both the common and individual course content segments.  This writing will take a variety of forms ranging from quick in-class responses to formal academic papers.


Attendance: Attendance is required. 


Special Needs

"The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) provides protection from illegal discrimination for qualified individuals with disabilities.  Students requesting instructional accommodations due to disabilities must arrange for such accommodations by contacting the Dean of Students Alexander Smith.  He can be reached at the Student Life Office, Wartburg College, Luther Hall 206, 352-8260, <>"


Honor Code/Plagiarism

Plagiarism is the representation of the work or ideas of others as your own.  Plagiarism can result from failing to cite a source, giving sufficient credit to the original authors, closely paraphrasing without attribution, and direct copying.  The Academic Policies Committee of Student Senate and the Honor Council have asked faculty to remind students that they have a “…responsibility to promote academic honesty by opposing cheating and plagiarism and reporting dishonest work”.  All forms of plagiarism and cheating will result in severe academic penalties.


By attending Wartburg College, students are demonstrating their dedication to the Honor Code.  The Honor Code reminds students of their responsibility to promote academic honesty by opposing cheating and plagiarism and reporting dishonest work.  This is a reminder of your obligation to the Honor Code (from the policy developed by students and overseen by the Student Senate, the Honor Council, and the Academic Ombudsperson).




Schedule of classes: When texts are listed for a class session, students should arrive having already read and reflected on this material.  Assignments are listed on the dates they are due.


Week 1 (January 8-14)

M         Introductions


W        The Chosen


F          Giamatti, “The Earthly Use of a Liberal Education”, “Wartburg College Mission Statement”


Week 2 (January 15-21)

M         Dyson, “Why I Am an Intellectual”

Shortened class period  11:45-12:35


W        Spayde, “Learning in the Key of Life”


F          Plato, “The Allegory of the Cave”


Week 3 (January 22-28)

M         Kreeft, “On Education and E.T”.


W        Schwartz, “The Debasing of Education”


F          Rodriguez, “The Lonely, Good Company of Books”


Week 4 (January 29- February 4)

M         Rose, “Entering the Conversation”


W        Malcolm X, Autobiogrpahy and Hughes, “Theme for English B”


F          Crow Dog, “Civilize them with a Stick”


Week 5 (February 5 - 11)

M         Rich, “What Does a Woman Need to Know” and Cheever, “Women’s Progress”


W        Set up for Dream House Survey First draft of Portrait of a learner paper duePAPER STANDARDS


F          Putnam, “Bowling Alone”


Fiddler on the Roof, Thursday, Friday or Saturday Night


Week 6 (February 12 - 18)  Conferences this week

M         Present Dream House Surveys


W        Dream Houses Continued


F          Townsley, “A College of Which Church?” and Simmons, “The Theological Legacy”


Week 7 (February 19 -25)

M         Cathedral    Revised Portrait papers due


W        Sittler, “The Church and Liberal Learning” 


F          Visit Wartburg Chapel


Week 8 (February 26 – March 4)

M         Discussion of Chapel Visit


W        Shelter Magazines


F          A History of Houses  Howe- Introduction


Winter Break begins 5:35 p.m. Friday, March 2nd  through March 11th 


Week 9 (March 12 - 18)

M         Howe- Chapter 1


W        Howe Chapter 2


F          Howe- Chapter 3


Week 10 (March 19 – 25)

M         Meet in Library     Howe- Chapter 4  Final Project proposal due


W        Howe Chapter 5


F          Frank Lloyd Wright video


Week 11 (March 26 –  April 1)

M         Howe Chapter 6


W        Howe Chapter 7


F          House Book


Week 12 (April 2 - 8)

M         House Book   Architect paper due


W        Final Presentations


Easter Break begins at 5:35 on Thursday, April 5th, through April 9th


Week 13 (April 9 - 15)

M         NO classes, offices closed


W        Final Presentations


F          Final Presentations



Finals Week (April 16 - 22) FINALS WEEK


Final Reflection and Exam, Wednesday, April 18, 11:30-1:30



The professor reserves the right to make changes to this syllabus, and will notify students when she does so.