The PEAK Curriculum
An Education for the Twenty-first Century
Professional, Ethical, Articulate, and Knowledgeable
With more officially designated wilderness than any state in the contiguous United States, Idaho is a land of peaks: Mt. Borah, the Seven Devils, the Selway Crags, the Big Horn Crags, Rhodes Peak. The College of Idaho proudly offers a distinctive curriculum—The PEAK Curriculum—that reflects the physical geography of Idaho while preparing students for climbing higher to see farther.
PEAK is a curriculum simple in concept but profound in its reach. An acronym for "Professional, Ethical, Articulate, and Knowledgeable," PEAK challenges students to study broadly across professional foundations, social sciences, humanities, fine arts, mathematics, and the natural sciences. It recognizes that a sturdy foundation is best for withstanding unanticipated gusts from a changing world.
As a liberal arts college with professional programs, The College of Idaho prepares students to lead fulfilling and productive lives. The PEAK Curriculum offers a curriculum design and college experience that distinctively educates and ensures that every graduate of The College of Idaho leaves with a set of professional skills in addition to a broad and deep liberal arts education. With the PEAK Curriculum students design their own combination of major and minor programs across four areas that will make them better prepared, more confident, more attractive to employers, graduate schools, and pre-professional programs than graduates of the traditional distribution systems common at most colleges. PEAK is founded on the principle of student choice rather than pre-determined course requirements. Under PEAK students will pursue roughly one-third of the 124-unit Bachelor's program in their chosen major, one-third in pursuit of three minors, and one-third in exploration of courses outside the student's four chosen programs. Students will work closely with faculty advisors to design, revise, and implement their individualized academic plans.
Whatever the future holds for graduates of the 21st century, accelerating change is a primary reality. The PEAK Curriculum offers a living and learning experience that engages students and equips them with the skills and understanding to flourish in our rapidly changing, diverse, and technologically informed world. As employees, students must be ready to change careers several times over their working lives. As citizens, they must govern in a world that will be radically different from the world of their youth. Where change is the norm, both breadth and depth of study are requisites for success.
The Four PEAKS
Humanities & Fine Arts
In the Humanities and Fine Arts PEAK, students develop their aesthetic, analytical, and imaginative capacities through courses in language, literature, creative writing, art, music, theatre, philosophy, and religion. By inquiring into the historical and cultural contexts of human expression and values, students learn to read in the fullest sense of the word. They discern complexities and find meaning across the range of oral, written, visual, and aural expressions of human experience. At the same time, they learn to communicate logically, clearly, persuasively, and evocatively, and they encounter the pleasures and challenges of creative work.
Social Sciences & History
In our increasingly complex world, it is essential that we are able to understand and analyze both group and individual human behavior, past and present. The Social Sciences seek to explain parts of human behavior through observation, participation, comparison, interpretation, logical reasoning, collection of documents and data, and, when amenable to scientific manipulation, experimentation. This PEAK enables students to understand the perspectives and limitations and to use the theories and methods of the social sciences in the study of individuals or of the groups, cultures, societies, polities, and economies which organize social life and define human experience.
Natural Sciences & Mathematics
Living in our technologically advanced society requires that we understand the natural world upon which we depend. The pursuit of truth and the discovery of beauty in our world demand an ability to observe carefully and understand, appreciate, question and challenge conclusions generated through the enterprise of science. This PEAK prepares students for such an endeavor by enabling them to develop fluency in quantitative reasoning and problem solving, understanding of the methods, uses, powers and limitations of science and mathematics, and knowledge of the concepts, principles and theories underlying these disciplines.
Professional Studies & Enhancement
Leading a productive and fulfilling life in a competitive global context requires being able to integrate, focus, and apply knowledge in practical ways. This PEAK encourages students to embrace our liberal arts mission while enhancing their talents and abilities to thrive in competitive careers. The result will be broadly educated graduates who understand various professions and are prepared for graduate programs and meaningful employment.