There are two core questions addressed by the project: How can the teaching of virtuous intellectual character be integrated into a university-level curriculum? What are the educational benefits of doing so? While there has been extensive discussion of the educational benefits of teaching for the intellectual virtues, there hasn't been any systematic implementation of these ideas at university level specifically, much less a serious educational evaluation of their effectiveness at this pedagogical level.
The core project questions will be addressed by developing online interdisciplinary modules devoted to fostering intellectually virtuous character in students. These modules will be embedded within the curriculum at the University of California, Irvine (UCI), so that all UCI undergraduate students can benefit from them regardless of their major. The pedagogical effectiveness of these materials will be evaluated via an educational study. The project will be the first of its kind in terms of leading to a wholesale incorporation of intellectual character development into the heart of an R1 university curriculum, at a highly diverse campus.
The project outputs will be invaluable to the broader debate regarding the educational value of the intellectual virtues. The project will lead to the development of an innovative curriculum at UCI and establish a long-standing community of practice in terms of teaching for virtuous intellectual character. A public version of the project modules will be made available for use by other educational institutions, supported by educational resources on a dedicated project webpage. The project will lead to important new educational research on the pedagogical effectiveness of teaching for virtuous intellectual character at university level. In summary, the project will demonstrate the effectiveness of intellectual character development within higher education, and serve as a beacon that will guide related educational initiatives.