UF Quest is an ambitious project of curriculum enhancement that will touch all four years of the undergraduate experience. Eschewing rote learning and standardized tests in favor of reading, writing, critical thinking, and engagement with outstanding faculty, Quest aims to spark students’ genuine intellectual engagement in their first semesters on the UF campus, and to nurture that critical and questioning streak across subsequent years.
One goal of Quest is to invite students to pursue knowledge more carefully—thinking about what majors, extracurriculars, and research opportunities truly speak to their passions. But Quest also intends to make students less careful, inviting them to take creative and intellectual risks, follow fascinating lines of inquiry in uncertain directions, and become comfortable with beginning again when the need arises. By encouraging both of these habits of mind, Quest pushes students towards the richest possible undergraduate experience. More important, however, it sets them on a path to become thoughtful citizens of a complex and swiftly changing world, prepared to use the habits of questioning, analysis, and self-reflection to address the challenges life throws at them.
Quest begins with a shared, sequential combination of learning and engagement in multidisciplinary lower division courses, first Arts and Humanities (Quest 1) and then Natural or Social Science (Quest2).
- In Quest 1 courses, students ask “essential questions” about the human experience—How do we create meaning? How should communities resolve conflict? What is the nature of “identity”?
- These questions have challenged artists and thinkers for centuries; they are difficult to answer, but also impossible to ignore.
- Quest 2 shifts from this grand tradition of meaning-making to a more human scale, posing “pressing questions” that can be answered with the tools of the Natural and Social Sciences. The unintended consequences of technological progress, climate change, structural racism: if Quest 1 asks “What do these mean?” Quest 2 asks “What can we do?”
If Quest 1 and 2 position students to make thoughtful decisions about their overall plans of undergraduate study, Quest 3 and 4 unfold within and work to enrich the traditional major.
- The experiential education of Quest 3 complement and extends classroom learning, offering the opportunity to put information and theory into practice in the community.
- Quest 4 is a Capstone designed within the major itself: pulling together a wide range of experiences, it offers students the opportunity to synthesize, reflect, and prepare for the world beyond UF.