University of Portland Bulletin 2015-2016

Fundamental Questions

The faculty of the University of Portland fashioned the core curriculum with the belief that learning originates in seeking answers to important life questions. Learning springs from active inquiry conducted through different intellectual disciplines, each with its own tools, methods, and measures. Learning is ongoing and integrates various perspectives. University of Portland students learn how various disciplines use their different lenses to study the same universe and all its experience. As a community of scholars, faculty and students approach key questions about life by gathering and assessing evidence about them: we explore cultures of the past and present for their answers; we examine the natural world and universe for data about them; we study religious traditions and practices, philosophies, literature and other arts, and ourselves for answers. Through this process, we know that good questions lead to more questions.

As a Catholic university, these fundamental questions, threaded throughout students’ years here, must engage us all:

  • Who am I? Who am I becoming? Why am I here?
  • How does the world work? How could the world work better?
  • How do relationships and communities function? What is the value of difference?
  • What is the role of beauty, imagination, and feeling in life?
  • Who or what is God? How can one relate to God?
  • What is a good life? What can we do about injustice and suffering?