The following criterion was developed and approved by the Faculty Council.
To satisfy the Independent Inquiry flag, at least one-third of the course grade must be based on the students’ independent investigation and presentation of their own work. The presentation of their work can take place in many venues including presentations in a capstone course, a performance, independent research, or a thesis.
The Independent Inquiry flag asks colleges and departments to consider these questions: What do we want our students to be able to do independently by the time they graduate? How can we offer courses that give all of our students the opportunity to perform this independent work?
The answers to these questions will be different across various disciplines, and the Independent Inquiry flag is designed to accommodate these variations. Across all disciplines, courses carrying the flag should require students to undertake research or creative work, think independently, and present their work to others. When possible, courses carrying the Independent Inquiry flag should serve as a capstone or fall near to the capstone level in a major, so that students have the opportunity to demonstrate mastery and integration of concepts important to their majors.
The emphasis for courses carrying this flag is on how the student is engaged in the process of inquiry over the course of the semester rather than on the final project or product that results from the student’s independent work. Independent inquiry is viewed as a culmination of a semester’s work rather than one exercise. With this focus on the process of inquiry in mind, here are examples of courses that typically satisfy the Independent Inquiry flag:
Not every course in which students work independently on assignments should carry the Independent Inquiry flag. The following types of courses would most likely not satisfy the independent inquiry flag criteria:
In order to qualify for the Independent Inquiry flag, it is not necessary that students in a course produce original research, in the sense that graduate students or faculty members understand original research. The ideas for students’ independent projects should come from and belong to the students, but there is no expectation that undergraduate students are able to produce original or publishable research. Likewise, the independence required by the Independent Inquiry flag does not mean that students should not receive guidance through the inquiry process and feedback on their work; on the contrary, most courses carrying the flag will involve teaching students about the inquiry process in a pa