Discovery Program


The Discovery Program inspires the learning community by connecting the life of the mind with a student’s lived experience in class and in the world.

Program Description:

The Discovery Program provides the intellectual framework for students in any major. It represents the faculty's collective belief in what constitutes and contributes to essential knowledge of the world. Together, students and faculty attempt to understand fully and use ethically that knowledge, both in the present and as a reservoir from which to draw in the future.

Each course in the Discovery Program fulfills an obligation not only to its own field, but also to others. Individually, courses illuminate the disciplines and ask that students understand their foundational methods, tools, and questions. Collectively, the Discovery Program aspires to help students recognize complexity and elegance in the relationships amongst the disciplines, to chart constellations of human knowledge. Like Keats, we are “watchers of the skies.”

Faculty Resources and Development:

Professors in Discovery have a common mission: to help students from all departments and programs understand better the organization of knowledge in the modern world. Faculty are responsible not only to colleagues and students in our own disciplines, but also to others learning and teaching in the Program from across the university's variegated intellectual terrain. Toward that end, the Discovery Program offers or plans to offer:
• Course development support
• Sample syllabi
• (Potential) supports for teaching cohorts by category

Strategic Initiatives (in collaboration with the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL):

• Developing curricular and program assessment;
• Promoting faculty development opportunities to advance the use of active learning practices in the classroom;
• Facilitating cohorts of faculty who teach across the disciplines.

Programs of Interest:

Teaching Inquiry

Taught by pioneering faculty, inquiry courses take a single topic, such as cloning, global warming, nutrition, human rights or the origin of life, and examine it from multiple perspectives. Inquiry courses prepare first-year students to succeed at the college level by helping them become active, independent thinkers who look at subjects and challenging problems from a number of viewpoints. All inquiry courses are small and involve experiential learning, e.g., learning by doing. Inquiry courses are designed to encourage students to reflect on their learning processes, to develop their own strategies to address questions, problems or subject matter in their coursework, and to effectively convey and present the results of their inquiry.

Teaching in a Residential Learning Community

Faculty teaching in RLCs enjoy the accelerated classroom community that comes with students living on the same floor of a campus residence hall. Residential Life staff work with the faculty member to support out of classroom initiatives to build on classroom goals and objectives.

University Dialogue

The University Dialogue is an initiative to draw first-year students into active participation in the intellectual life of the University. Students are given a set of position statements, written by UNH faculty on annual topics such as democracy, poverty, health or TMI: A University Dialogue on Decision Making in the Age of Information Overload. These readings serve as the basis for various dialogues and events planned each semester.

Capstone Experience

The Senior Capstone Experience asks students to synthesize and apply disciplinary knowledge and skills; reflect on undergraduate learning and experience; demonstrate emerging professional competencies; apply, analyze, and/or interpret research or data or artistic expression and; explore areas of interest based on the integration of prior learning.