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University at Albany Undergraduate Bulletin - 2004-2005

Project Renaissance

Stephen E. DeLong, Director
Professor of Geology (Collins Fellow)

Project Renaissance is a year-long living/learning program for first-year students at the University . Participating students live together in shared residence halls and take team-taught or linked, interdisciplinary courses that satisfy 12 credits of General Education requirements (6 credits per semester) and that also fulfill the following requirements: lower-level writing intensive, information literacy, and, in some cases, oral discourse.

Students must register for 6 credits each semester, with the first semester prerequisite for the second; 6 credits may be awarded to students who complete the first semester but opt not to continue in the second semester. Each of the integrated, full-year programs examines, through an interdisciplinary approach, the relationship between human identity and technology as expressed in or resulting from fields such as literature, philosophy, history, sociology, political science, religion, art, and science.

Students choosing the General Program study with a team of ProjRen faculty from several academic disciplines. This program is open to students interested in any major, as well as those who are undecided.

Students choosing a Track take a Departmental “linked” course directly related to that track and a 3-credit ProjRen course complementary to the track (so that the two courses together offer an interdisciplinary experience similar to the General Program). The linked course is typically a larger class that ProjRen students attend with other students. Each track is appropriate for students considering a number of different majors. In 2004-2005, there are five tracks (linked Departments in parentheses):

  • Arts & Humanities (Art History, History)
  • Pre-Business (Economics)
  • Pre-Health (Biology)
  • Psychology/Sociology (Psychology, Sociology)
  • Pre-Law (Philosophy, Business Law)

Other features of both programs include the use of contemporary computer technology for communication and research and, in some cases, a community service experience.

Course configuration and thematic focus may vary year by year. For example:

how human identity or the "self" is understood in relation to groups, cultures, and institutions;

human identity in relation to issues of racial and ethnic diversity and gender difference and also cultural definitions of the individual in relation to nature;

the formation of traditional concepts and challenges to them from early history through the early modern period; and

in the context of the last two centuries, the impact contemporary academic disciplines, especially the natural and social sciences, have had on the way we regard our humanity, our function in society, and our place in the world.

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