Wisdom Course Assignment List

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Required Elements

You must have the following elements in your grading scheme. Make sure the percentages total 100.

Preparation (formal, required, 15-25%)

Your preparation for class will be assessed by short electronic quizzes given at the start of most classes. This also includes some announced in class short answer exercises.

Critical Insight Paper (formal, required, 10-30%)

This paper invites you to assemble a personal theory of wisdom from a selection of the course readings, ideas, and insights that have been particular important to you. To prepare for the paper, review course readings and make selections about the nature and explanation of wisdom that you find particularly valuable to you. This could include accepting or rejecting (or modifying) any of the ideas in the course. The goal of your paper is to present and defend an integrated view of wisdom. 7-8 pages.

We will use the Peerceptive peer review website for this assignment and run the drafts through a comment round without rating.

Final Exam (formal, required, 25-45%)

An exam in which you write two short essays. Open book and open note.

Optional Elements

You may add one or more of the following elements to your grading scheme. Make sure the percentages total 100.

Wisdom Practicum (informal, optional, 10%)

The Wisdom Practicum allows you to engage in experiential learning about wisdom practices and their effects in your daily life. There are three typical practices students have chosen for this assignment, and students usually only do one of these:

  • Mindfulness Meditation
  • Yoga (some additional reading may be required)
  • A wisdom related spiritual practice from your religious tradition (e.g. the Ignatian Spiritual


Whichever practices you experiment with, the goal is the same. Engage in the wisdom practices, explore additional readings as you practice, and try to notice whether the practices have an effect on your daily life and if so, how. If the practice is new to you, such as beginning yoga or meditation, you may need to engage in the practice for several weeks before even asking about its effects.

Some of the "work" of this assignment is taken up in the wisdom practice itself. Your journal should include entries in which you note the specifics of the practice and make ongoing observations about your engagement with it. But the focus of the project should ultimately be on connections you find or fail to find between wisdom practices and your life. Hopefully, you will find positive connections, but your job is to report on this honestly and reflectively.

Class Presentation (informal, optional, 10-15%)

A brief (10-15 minute) class presentation of a topic of your choice (in consultation with your professor).

Journal (informal, optional, 5-10%, 3-6 entries)

Journal entries of 2-3 pages (1-2 screens of email text) each reflecting on course content or topics related to the course. Entries should be submitted by email one at a time for interactive response. Journals must be completed by April 15.

Mid-term Exam (formal, optional, 0-25%)

An exam in which you write one in class essay. Open book and open note.

Movie Reflection Paper (informal, optional, 10%)

Write a 3-4 page analysis of the representation of an wisdom in a popular film. Must be completed by April 15th.

Short research paper (formal, optional, 10-15%)

This short research assignment allows you to look into a course question or topic of interest to you.