Intersections is an interdisciplinary seminar that introduces the key questions students will explore throughout their four years at Central College:

Required of all first-year students, the multiple course sections investigate the shared topic “Perspectives on Human Nature,” and each professor adds a unique emphasis based on their discipline.

The first college course for most incoming students, Intersections is a glimpse into the critical thinking and rigorous research and writing typical of the liberal arts at Central. As such, it explores the complex relationships between the sciences, arts and humanities.

Intersections is more than a course; it is an experience for the entire Central community. Faculty, staff and upperclassmen are invited to read the common reading book over the summer and join in the campus-wide conversations taking place in the fall. Three convocations featuring speakers from different backgrounds cover the themes present in the common reading.

The fall of 2012 is the 10th year of Intersections. For a decade, Central faculty have inspired students to improve their research and writing skills, explore different perspectives and develop the intellectual curiosity necessary for lifelong learning.

Intersections is a course at the crossroads of many disciplines, as well as a convergence between the classroom and campus life. These intersections between the classroom, the playing field, the stage, the laboratory and the residence hall will continue throughout students’ four years at Central. This new concept of Integrated Learning is unique among the nation’s colleges and universities.

Retrospective: A Celebration of 10 Years of Intersections

10 Years of Student Work

Listen to the Identity Playlist on Spotify
For several years, Intersections faculty have asked students to choose a song relevant to how they think about themselves. A compilation of the selected pieces is available via Spotify.

Listen to a Theatre of Sound
In 2009, students created music and visual art out of unconventional instruments and structures.

Watch a Famous Poem Come to Life
The first reading for every Intersections class is “A Noiseless, Patient Spider” by Walt Whitman. In 2012, students had to create an original work of art where their poem interpretation was represented through their creative artwork. Inspiration was also drawn from Conor Grenan’s book “Little Princes.”

See “Day into Night”
In 2008, artist David Williamson worked with students to create metal sculptures outdoors.


Listen to “Do it Anyway”
This song was co-written by singer-songwriter Carrie Newcomer and an Intersections class in 2011. The lyrics were inspired by Jerome Bruner’s “Self-Making Narratives,” part of the textual anthology for the class. It was sung by the class at the closing convocation.

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See “A Prairie Elegy” by Holly Reilly
During the first year of Intersections in 2003, students sold T-shirts with the phrase, “I survived Intersections.”  The proceeds, with matching funds from Friends of Central Arts, were used to purchase a piece of environmental artwork now hanging in Vermeer Science Center.

Run to End Poverty
In 2010, students organized the Windmill Run and Walk, whose proceeds went to Heifer International, which works with communities to end hunger and poverty and care for the earth.

Read about Intersections History
Despite initial misgivings about Intersections, students have gained the tools to fully appreciate a liberal arts education.


Common reading: “Little Princes” by Conor Grennan



Common reading: “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot

Harriet Washington
Eric Hartman
Carrie Newcomber


Common reading: “The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind” by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer

Taylor Mali
Bryan Mealer

Pauline Chen


Common reading: “Enrique’s Journey” by Sonia Nazario

Theatre of Sound

Sonia Nazario
Paul Loeb


Common read:“A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier” by Ishmael Beah

David Williamson
Ishmael Beah
Lakota Sioux Dance Theater


Common reading: “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini

Shirin Zubair
Margolis Brown
Dean Hamer


First year for new theme: Perspectives on Human Nature

Jon Witt

The Soldier’s Tale by Stravinsky

Don Huffman


Common Theme: The Human Place in the Environment

Russ Benedict
Sandra Steingraber

Chad Pregracke


Common Theme: The Human Place in the Global Environment

Jonathan Chenette
Vandana Shiva

Chad Pregracke
Ray Anderson
Keith Yanner, political science


Common theme: The Human Impact on the Global Environment

Fred Kirschenmann
Jonathan Chenette
Winona LaDuke