Since 1989, the Herbst Program has equipped engineering students with the right tools to gain intelligent and relevant access to the great ongoing conversations of human existence. Our core classes are small (12-14), highly interactive and practical. We emphasize the development of communication and thinking skills that will enhance both your life and your career. As a program of "applied humanities," we wrestle with how a more skillful engagement of literature, philosophy, film, drama, music, and art can enrich, inform, transform and enliven how we choose to engage ourselves, others and our world.
All Herbst classes count toward Humanities and Social Sciences requirements in the College of Engineering and Applied Science.
"Herbst was a breath of fresh air in my engineering education. While traditional engineering classes seem to focus on straightforward "plug and chug," Herbst seminars provided me with an opportunity to analyze situations with many different answers ... Having been in the workforce for several years now, I often find myself in situations of complete uncertainty. Successfully navigating these open-ended challenges requires developing an idea while accepting and adapting to feedback ... It's not just like being in a Herbst seminar; it's like writing a Herbst essay!" - Nick Little (AeroEngr '09)
"I cannot say enough about the Herbst program, and not just because it afforded me my first opportunity to leave the country to spend a Maymester in Italy (though that was an experience of a lifetime!). I would never have been exposed to Greek philosophers, Italian artists, and lesser-known novels of American novelists without Herbst. The intimate classes, engaging discussions, and emphasis on critical thinking outside of a technical area were invaluable." - Heather Doty (BS/MS CivEngr '01)
A directed reading group for engineering faculty and staff during the academic year.
Wednesdays, 12:00-12:50 p.m. in ECOT 831
The Herbst Program of Humanities hosts a series of drop-in brown bag seminars for engineering faculty and staff throughout the academic year. Bring your lunch and join us to learn and share your thoughts and insights on a variety of great books and other works. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
September: Between Two Worlds
What's it like to be between two different cultures? In September's seminars, Herbst Director Leland Giovannelli explores this question in prose and in film. Please join us for any or all of these sessions!
LOST SISTER - September 7th
In Dorothy M. Johnson's short story, Lost Sister, a white woman is brought back to her siblings after having lived for decades among the Comanche. The story's narrator is a mere boy, but he soon recognizes the painful irony and injustice of this 'homecoming.' PDF of Lost Sister
SEVEN SAMURAI - September 14th and 21st
Akira Kurosawa's classic is considered the greatest of all samurai films. In it, beleaguered peasants hire samurai to defend their harvest from bandits. Many cross-cultural dramas play out against this backdrop. We will discuss the first half on 9/14 and the second half on 9/21.
OUT OF THE SILENT PLANET - September 28th
C. S. Lewis is famous as the author of The Chronicles of Narnia, but he also wrote a science fiction trilogy. In the first novel of this series, a vacationing college professor is kidnapped and taken to another planet. A philologist, he speedily learns the local language. He runs into serious difficulty, however, when he has to explain the behavior of his fellow Earthlings.