Body and Mind
The mind-body approach is in contrast to the traditional, reductionist biomedical model of medicine that suggests every disease process can be explained in terms of an underlying biological deviation from normal function such as a pathogen, genetic or developmental abnormality, or injury. The “mind-body connection” is a common term for the bio psychosocial health model, a general model or approach that suggests the relationship between biological, psychological (including thoughts, emotions, and behaviors), and social factors, that may all play a significant role in human functioning in the context of disease or illness. Indeed, health is best understood in terms of a combination of biological, psychological, and social factors rather than purely in biological terms. Mental health systems, the obesity epidemic, health–spiritual connections, and testing methods for new drugs are examples of real world problems that this theme might consider. This theme can contribute to a greater understanding for majors and minors such as Health and Human Performance, Athletic Training, Biomedical Sciences, Gerontology, Global Public Health, Human and Family Development, Pre-Med, Pre-Physical Therapy, Native American Studies, Pharmacy, Nursing, Social Work and Public Health.
Consumption, Resources, and Sustainability
Sustainability lies at the intersection of unlimited human wants and desires and limited natural resources. Until the 1800s, the average standard of living had changed only slightly for several thousand years. Since then we have witnessed tremendous, though uneven, growth. However, as a byproduct of that growth, resources such as clean water, energy and carbon sinks show signs of strain. This theme investigates the complex and dynamic interrelationships between consumption, resources, and sustainability, which highlights the conflicts between present and future demands. Examples of issues that could be considered under this theme are as diverse as climate change, economic development, international relations, equity and the connection between generations. This theme is central to majors and minors such as Anthropology, Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry, Economics, Environmental Studies, Forestry, Geography, Geosciences, Global Public Health, Health and Human Performance, History, International Business, Management, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, Resource Conservation, Sociology, and Wildlife Biology.
Culture, Identity and Diversity
When one talks about “culture,” it usually refers to the shared language, traditions, and beliefs that define people –often in geographic or national terms. Thus we can talk about “Japanese culture” or even “Montana culture.” The shared components of culture typically unite people, but they can also set them apart. At a time of sharply increased international travel and communication, there is not only a trend toward a global consumer culture, but also the growth of subcultures—Algerians in France, Mexicans in American, gays in Montana, etc. The latter trends can have diverse effects. Drawing on diverse disciplines and both historical and contemporary examples, students studying this theme will examine the key forces that help define different cultures, and the ways culture has both unified and divided people in the U.S. and across the globe. Globalization, gender issues, political participation and conflicting belief systems are examples of real world issues that could be considered. This theme can prepare one for a broad array of majors, ranging from Psychology to Area Studies (e.g., Asian Studies, Latin American Studies, African American studies), and might include Anthropology, Language and Literature, Gender History, Native American Studies, Education, Political Science, Economic Development, and Sociology.
Health, Well-being, and Development
Illness and disease have become major issues of our time. The health, well-being, and development of the world’s peoples have become a paramount concern. Complex issues, like childhood obesity, require in depth understanding and analysis in order to understand not only the root causes of the condition, but also viable, realistic treatment and prevention programs as well. Health, well-being, and development represent broad areas of study and encompass mental, emotional, social, and physical components. Health care systems, the connection between health and economic success and issues surrounding the role of mental health in society are examples of issues this theme could address. This theme can contribute to greater understanding for those studying areas such as Anthropology, Athletic Training, Biology, Education, Health and Human Performance, International Business, Journalism, Native American Studies, Philosophy, Political Science, Psychology, Social Work, and Sociology.
Imagination, Creativity, and Expression
By examining artistic and creative traditions from around the world and throughout history, we enrich our appreciation of both the work and the culture that produced it. Theater, literature, and visual art offer unique glimpses into the lives of others, helping us to recognize common themes and valuable differences in the human experience. Critically examining these works helps us hone the skills of observation and analysis. Interacting with different kinds of texts requires that we develop and apply appropriate criteria to make informed judgments. Perhaps most importantly, studying the arts gives us tools to represent and understand our experience, and inspires us to express ourselves more imaginatively. This theme provides a unique lens with which to view almost any real-world problem, including such issues as global climate change, the local food movement, the link between poverty and health. Work in this theme aligns with the following majors/minors: Studio Art, Anthropology, Film Studies, Theater, Music, English Literature, Creative Writing, Modern and Classical Languages, Media Arts, and Dance.
Inequality, Justice, and Injustice
Justice is one of the fundamental tenets of philosophical traditions across cultures, and the perception of injustice –which can be provoked by economic, social, political, racial and religious inequality—is not only troubling on moral grounds but can contribute to social unrest and political instability. Students will address this theme from a global perspective, comparing western classical theories of justice and moral reasoning with non-western philosophical thought. They will then use those conceptual notions to analyze and evaluate distributive justice and human rights in “real life” situations, including issues such as race, economic development, food security, global health, and climate change. This theme can contribute to a host of majors and minors, including Political Science, History, Philosophy, Area Studies (e.g., Asian Studies, Latin American Studies, African American studies), Economics, Economic Development, Environmental and Climate Change studies, Education and Public Health.
Lands, Waters, and Species
The natural world is delicately interconnected. Issues that affect land, water, ecological systems or individual species may have a cascading effect across a broad swath of the environment as well as economic and political ramifications. In a world where specialists are the norm, this theme focuses on an integrated world view using multidisciplinary approaches to evaluate, understand and work on solutions to these local and global problems. These problems range from global issues such as climate change and extinction to local issues such as protection of open space and clean water. This theme can contribute to a greater understanding for majors and minors such as Wilderness Management or Studies, Wildlife Biology, Ecology, Wildfire Sciences and Restoration, Business, Environmental Studies, Biology, Recreation Management, Physics, Resource Conservation, Law and Environmental Studies, Mountain Studies, Native American Studies, Geography, Geophysics, Ecosystem Management, Energy Technology, Fish and Wildlife Biology, Forestry and Climate Change Studies.
Science, Religion, and Ethics
Science and religion represent two of the strongest forces in society today. While some entities view them as being conflicting and at odds with one another, other perspectives see them as simply complimentary components of a much greater whole. Issues such as stem cell research and evolution highlight the complex relationship between these two topics. Other issues such as abortion, euthanasia and war would fall into this theme. Ethics, which is the branch of philosophy that deals with values relating to human conduct, plays an important role in how this relationship between science and religion is debated and applied. This theme can contribute to greater understanding for those studying areas such as Anthropology, Biology, Business, Communication Studies, Computer Science, Economics, Education, Environmental Studies, Forestry, Geography, Health and Human Performance, History, Interdisciplinary Geosciences, Journalism, Native American Studies, Philosophy, Physics, Psychology, Religious Studies, Resource Conservation, Social Work, and Sociology.
Story, Communication, and Interaction
We communicate within and across cultures in a variety of ways: from the short story to the sermon, from the PowerPoint presentation to the documentary, from the executive summary to the rock anthem. Effective communicators are increasingly required to be fluent in a wide range of communication modes, and to move between those modes according to purpose and audience. Students participating in this theme will study a diverse range of communication tools and traditions, becoming flexible and adept communicators. This theme could be at the center of any real world problem since the rhetoric of the message applies to problems ranging from alleviating poverty locally and globally to working for global justice. Work in this theme aligns with the following majors/minors: Anthropology, Cultural Studies, Communication Studies, Education, English Literature, Humanities, Theater, Music, Modern and Classical Languages, Journalism, International Business, African-American Studies, Classics, Political Science, and Native American Studies.
Systems, Algorithms, and a Complex World
In an increasingly complex and electronic world, scholars are studying multifaceted interrelationships and discovering that a deeper understanding of dynamic processes in which cause and effect relationships are not always visible helps one understand the world. Applying tools such as algorithms (procedures and formulae) and systems thinking leads to improved awareness of how systems evolve and behave. This awareness leads to new discoveries, improves the way problems are framed, and illustrates the multidisciplinary nature of our world. Real world issues such as designing resilience, sustainability, pollution, local food, and energy production could be attacked using concepts from this theme. Knowledge gained in this theme can contribute to a greater understanding for majors and minors in Accounting, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Climate Change Studies, Computer Science, Environmental Studies, Forestry, Geography, Management Information Systems, Mathematics, Parks, Tourism and Recreation Management, Philosophy, Physics, Resource Conservation, and Wildlife Biology.