Minerva Schools at KGI

Student Success


The Minerva Schools at KGI (MSKGI) are focused on the success of our students. We provide active learning in an all-seminar program. Our students learn to work as individuals and as members of teams, and learn habits of mind and foundational concepts that will serve them in good stead for a lifetime. We also support co-curricular and extracurricular opportunities and robust student support services to assist students through challenges they may face while enrolled in our programs.

Our first class arrives in September 2014. Thus, we have no outcome data. We will post information on learning, retention/completion and other indicators of achievement annually in summer after each year of the programs. At present we have clear Learning Objectives, which are summarized below.

Institutional Learning Objectives

The following Institutional Learning Objectives (ILOs) are required of all students at MSKGI. These ILOs are introduced in the first-year Cornerstone courses, and consist of “habits of mind” and “foundational concepts.” A habit of mind is a mental activity that becomes automatic with practice; a foundational concept is knowledge that can be built upon. To be included, the habit of mind or foundational concept must:

  • Help students become innovators and leaders after they graduate.

  • Help the students develop a broad, ethical, global worldview.

  • Be used in courses offered by at least two majors.

Thinking Critically

Evaluating claims

  • Distill complex arguments, identifying and critiquing the key elements of an argument.

  • Identify hidden assumptions and agendas.

  • Use principles of information literacy.

  • Use back-of-the envelope calculations and “plausibility checks” to determine whether claims are plausible.

  • Identify the differences between scientific and nonscientific or pseudo-scientific statements.

  • Use underlying concepts of research methods to evaluate claims.

  • Evaluate statistics and probabilities appropriately.

Analyzing inferences

  • Use logic and deductive reasoning appropriately; detect logical fallacies.

  • Use inductive reasoning appropriately; recognize that more than one generalization is always possible.

  • Identify biases that affect how humans draw inferences.

Weighing decisions

  • Perform cost-benefit analyses for all stakeholders.

  • Identify key heuristics and biases that affect decision-making; learn to correct errors.

  • Evaluate tradeoffs between emotional and rational considerations.

  • Evaluate principles of rational economics for decisions.

  • Use decision-support tools to explore the consequences of decisions under risk and uncertainty.

Thinking Creatively

Facilitating discovery

  • Learn to generate hypotheses and informed conjectures.

  • View complex systems from multiple perspectives and use multiple levels of description to generate alternative interpretations for an event.

  • Make connections between things that were not previously seen as connected.

  • Use analogies in reasoning (including during problem solving) appropriately.

  • Use primary resources to discover how and why a present societal situation evolved from an earlier situation.

  • Discover and assess your own strengths and weaknesses.

Solving problems

  • Identify the constraints that restrict possible solutions to a problem.

  • Frame problems in different ways and evaluate the implications of the different ways of framing them.

  • Select and deploy formal representations of a problem.

  • Use the distinction between models and theories, and between theories and hypotheses in analyzing problems.

  • Break down problems into sub-problems.

  • Formulate the most important, most critical questions to ask at each point in the process of solving a problem, identifying next steps.

  • Recognize and mitigate the effects of cognitive biases in solving problems.

  • Identify tasks that algorithms can perform efficiently and/or effectively.

  • Learn how to work effectively with others to solve problems.

Creating products, processes and services

  • Manage projects to accomplish tasks within schedule and budget.

  • Use basic principles of aesthetics in creating presentations, photographs, videos, charts and graphs.

  • Use basic principles of multimodal perception that are relevant for design (including for use in oral presentations).

Communicating Effectively

Producing messages and information

  • Write and speak clearly.

  • Tailor oral and written work for the context and the audience.

  • Identify and use the underlying structure of stories, writing them in ways that readers/listeners will find engaging.

  • Identify ways that visual art and music are used to communicate.

  • Use direct and indirect persuasion, using nudging techniques as well as empathy and the art of rhetoric.

Interacting with others

  • Listen well and be open-minded.

  • Negotiate and mediate, including looking for mutual gains.

  • Use principles of effective debating.

  • Use principles and styles of effective leadership.

  • Identify different styles of interpersonal interaction.

  • Recognize the dynamics of group interactions and the biases that influence them.

  • Resolve ethical dilemmas and have social consciousness.

Program Learning Objectives

In addition to mastering the Institutional Learning Objectives, students are expected to master field-specific Program Learning Objectives. These objectives are intended to provide the foundations for further study in a discipline, such as would take place in graduate or professional schools.

College of Arts and Humanities

  • Mastering multi-modal communications.

  • Use principles of human creativity and emotional expression.

  • Explain principles of philosophy and ethics.

  • Use principles and practices of historical analysis.

College of Computational Sciences

  • Design, develop and use formal and computational models to solve problems.

  • Evaluate and analyze data and information.

  • Design, develop and use decision-support tools.

  • Think algorithmically and create algorithms to solve problems.

College of Natural Sciences

  • Characterize the predictive value of a scientific claim.

  • Explain and utilize methods of ideation for problems requiring natural science

  • Utilize natural sciences in design of technological solutions.

  • Explain the nature of emergent behavior that may limit prediction or control of a system.

College of Social Sciences

  • Master complex systems analysis, which requires knowing how to use statistical tools, understand how network theory reveals aspects of social structure.

  • Explain principles of individual human behavior, including those that govern motivation, emotion, learning, memory, perception and language and those that underlie psychopathology.

  • Identify principles of human group behavior, such as understanding what is known about group dynamics, sociological principles, economic laws, and political systems.

  • Explain principles and practices of cultural variation, contemporary and historical.

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Key Cognitive Skills

  • Evaluating claims
  • Analyzing inferences
  • Weighing decisions
  • Facilitating discovery
  • Solving problems
  • Creating products, processes and services
  • Producing messages and information
  • Interacting with others




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