Bic ‘Em: Students engage in rigorous, alternative courses

Students sit in World Cultures IV large group session, which covers American history. On this paticular day, students were learning the economic and religious factors of slavery. Claire Boston | Multimedia Journalist

By Greta Gould | Reporter

Baylor University’s Honors College is home to many challenging and unique programs, including the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core.

BIC is a concentration where students are challenged by courses that stretch beyond the general requirements for most majors. The curriculum takes the place of general education credits and accompanies the student’s major credits.

The goal of the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core is for students to play an active role in their own education. Students are able to read works of philosophers rather than reading about them in textbooks.

“The BIC curriculum explores the interrelation of humanities, social sciences, and the physical sciences and thereby provides students with a broad context in which they can better understand the contemporary world,” the BIC website said.

The Woodlands senior Lauren Waters has been a part of BIC since her freshman year. Waters, a corporate communication major, has been able to combine common core classes that students take into one course through BIC.

“BIC is an interdisciplinary education that basically takes all of your core requirement classes and morphs them into topics that span a wide variety of information,” Waters said.

Some BIC courses include World Cultures, Social World, Examined Life and Rhetoric. These courses combine subjects such as English with those like history in order to challenge students to think differently. Each course has a large group, where all of BIC meets, and then a small group where they discuss the lecture from that week. All of the required courses for BIC are tailored to fit around a student’s major classes, Waters said.

“The bulk of BIC is completed by your sophomore year, then you have one course each semester,” Waters said.

Students are able to work closely with their professors due to the smaller class sizes, Waters said. These smaller class sizes allow for communities to be made with peers and professors. All BIC students start by taking the same courses together and then are given the opportunity to take different BIC courses depending on their major, Waters said.

“The professors are some of the most intentional and knowledgeable people I’ve ever met, honestly, and they really care,” Waters said.

Lexington, Ky. freshman Catherine Van Tatenhove has just begun her BIC career as an international studies major. Because of her major, she has particularly enjoyed world cultures. The course, over the span of two years, covers the beginning of time all the way up to present day.

“I’ve loved being able to study different world cultures by reading literature from the exact time periods we are studying, instead of just listening to a professor lecture,” Van Tatenhove said. “BIC does such a good job of incorporating so many elements into the learning process which makes everything you learn feel like it’s being taught from every direction possible.”

According to Van Tatenhove, BIC has been a place where she has found a community starting out at Baylor.

“BIC has been such great place for me and has challenged me as a student … it’s really expanded and impacted my knowledge and world view in ways that I really didn’t expect,” Waters said.

According to the BIC website, not only does learning take place in the BIC classrooms, but also excursions such as a trip to a Hindu temple, the Dallas Museum of Art, a Mosque, and the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth. After the field trips they comprise research papers and reports.

They also offer study abroad experiences every summer to places such as Italy, Hawaii, Oxford and many others. This past summer BIC professor, Dr. Davide Zori and team found a 3,000-year-old mummy in Italy.