Faculty Resources

Important Dates

Core Credit for a Course
Deadlines for proposals from faculty seeking Core credit for a course (whether a new course or a previously-taught course) to be taught in the approaching semester or next academic year
October 1st
December 1st
February 1st
April 1st
Complex Problems & Enduring Questions
Application Deadline for Complex Problem and Enduring Question courses (to be taught in the following academic year)
October 15th

Call for Proposals

The University Core Renewal Committee invites proposals for Complex Problems and Enduring Questions courses to be taught in the 2024-2025 academic year. Contributing to the rigorous intellectual development and personal formation of our students in the tradition of a Jesuit, Catholic university, these interdisciplinary courses bring together faculty from different departments and/or schools and fulfill two different Core requirements (Arts, History, Literature, Mathematics, Natural Sciences, Philosophy, Social Sciences, Theology, and Writing). 

  • Complex Problems are team-taught, six-credit classes that address a contemporary problem. Each week they meet for three lectures, a lab taught by Core Fellows, and an evening Reflection session. Enrollment is capped at 76 students.
  • Enduring Questions  courses are linked pairs of three-credit classes that meet separately. Each class meets on a normal weekly schedule plus four Reflection sessions each semester. Enrollments are set at 19.

Both Complex Problems and Enduring Questions courses integrate co-curricular programming—Reflection Sessions—that deepens academic study with opportunities for exploration and personal growth.

Stipend and Impact on Course Load

Full time faculty receive a stipend of $12,500 for Complex Problems courses, and $7,500 for Enduring Questions courses in exchange for preparing their syllabi and attending pedagogical workshops. For each faculty member, a Complex Problem class counts as two courses of his or her normal teaching load. Part-time faculty are not eligible to apply.

Application Process

  • Full time faculty may apply for either a Complex Problems or an Enduring Questions class. Typically, one applies as part of a previously arranged pair, but it is also possible to apply as an individual in hopes of finding a partner. In either case, each faculty member submits an application.
  • Application is via an on-line form (link below).
  • Complex Problems applications require:
    1. one joint course title and one-paragraph description;
    2. an explanation (500 word max.) of how the proposed course fulfills the characteristics of a Complex Problems course;
    3. the Core requirements your course fulfills;
    4. Department chair’s information;
    5. teaching preferences and constraints.
  • Enduring Questions applications require:
  • Applicants will be informed of decisions by the University Core Renewal Committee.
    1. an individual course title and one-paragraph description;
    2. a joint, one-paragraph course description;
    3. an explanation (500 word max.) of how the proposed course fulfills the characteristics of an Enduring Questions course;
    4. the Core requirements your course fulfills;
    5. Department chair’s information;
    6. teaching preferences and constraints.

If you have any questions, please contact the Core Office at: core@bc.edu.

Boston College faculty discuss the challenges and rewards of teaching interdisciplinary Complex Problems and Enduring Questions courses.

Interdisciplinary Teaching Success

History & Social Science

Planet in Peril: The History and Future of Human Impacts on the Planet

Focus On Interdisciplinary Connections

In their course, Professors Schor and Parthasarathi combine contemporary sociological analyses with a consideration of the long history of human impact on the planet. They devote substantial attention to the causes (such as past and present abuses of peoples, lands, and water) and solutions (such as public policy development, social movements, individual action, and social innovation).

In class, they focused their attention on the connections between our global past and what it can tell us about how we can responsibly act in the future. They accomplished this through engaging lectures andreflection sessions as well as classroom discussion and debate. In turn, students shared their thoughts about how the class had made them feel by the end of the semester.

History & Natural Science

Making the Modern World: Design, Ethics, and Engineering

Reflection Sessions

Reflection Sessions integrate course content into peer-led discussions about student personal moral development. Reflections grounded in the Jesuit tradition spur personal reflection and inquiry about the moral and ethical dimensions inherent to modern engineering and design.

Reflection sessions are a place where ethical inquiry and an understanding of modern engineering and its history overlap in creative and meaninful ways.

Hybrid Labs

Hybrid Labs give students hands-on engineering experience. Students are currently tackling a seven-week human centered design project anchored in questions focusing on technology and accessibility on BC's Chestnut Hill campus. The project brings students' nascent engineering knowledge together with the insights they've gained from the history of science and critical theory in weekly class lectures. The result will be group designs that bear the marks of students' new understanding of how different disciplines like engineering, history, and ethics intersect.