UNILWYL 1115: Exploring Purpose in Life

Identity, meaning, and direction at Cornell

Instructor: Dr. Rachel Sumner

1 credit. S/U only.
Offered: Fall 7-Week 2 Session
Visit the Class Roster for Course Times

Course Description

This course aims to provide first-year students with the opportunity to reflect on purpose in life and how being at Cornell might impact their own experiences with identity, meaning, and direction. Informed by perspectives from scholars and peers in the course, students will explore different ways to find a sense of purpose in life, what outcomes are associated with having a sense of purpose, and how the college environment can foster (and potentially hinder) the cultivation of purpose. Participating students will be supported in developing and using critical dialogue skills to understand their experience with purpose in life and how social identities (e.g., nationality, race, socioeconomic status) relate to their exploration of and/or commitment to purpose.

Learning Outcomes

  • Apply themes from existing research and scholarship to one’s own experience exploring and/or committing to a purpose in life
  • Practice dialogue skills (e.g., active listening, asking questions) to foster critical reflection and mutual understanding
  • Synthesize takeaways from the course to develop a plan for meaningful engagement with purpose in life throughout one’s time at Cornell