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Serving as the Capstone requirement of CMU's Essential Learning (General Education) Program, the Maverick Milestone course is a 200-level interdisciplinary, topics-oriented, writing-intensive course designed to help students develop the ability to solve problems and approach ideas using more than one set of intellectual tools.

One mark of an educated person is the ability to recognize that various disciplines approach ideas and problems in different ways. The distribution of courses within the Essential Learning program ensures that students will construct a matrix of knowledge that fosters a multiplicity of viewpoints for thinking about the world.

In the Maverick Milestone course, students will construct an academic project using techniques and methodologies from multiple disciplines. Most of the Maverick Milestone sections will be team-taught by two, or even three, faculty from different disciplines. For instance, a Biology professor and a Sociology professor might teach a course on "Pandemics and Society," or a Nursing professor and a Literature professor might team up to teach a course on "Medicine in Literature." The courses may be thematic or more topical, perhaps responding to current events and debates in society.

Details of the Essential Learning Capstone Requirement

Student must complete the 4 credit hour Essential Learning Capstone Requirement once they have earned between 45 and 75 credit hours.

ESSL 290     Maverick Milestone
3 semester credit hours

Regardless of the specific topic of the Milestone section enrolled in, students will write a significant amount of polished prose, making the course an important transition between the Essential Learning curriculum and their upper-division work in the major.  Most sections of the Milestone will be team-taught by faculty from different disciplines and will require students to apply knowledge and skills from more than one academic discipline.

ESSL 200     Essential Speech
1 semester credit hour

As a co-requisite to the Milestone course, students will present the material they encounter in that interdisciplinary environment to their peers from other sections of the Milestone. Essential Speech will provide skills that individual majors can build on in ways appropriate to their disciplines as they move into upper-division courses.

Examples of Milestone Courses

The co-requisite Maverick Milestone and Essential Speech courses were first offered during the Fall 2015 semester. As the Essential Learning Program matures, the selection of Milestone sections and topics will continue to expand.

ESSL 290: Technology and Empire

Tim Casey, Professor of Political Science

Douglas O'Roark, Professor of History

Course Description

ESSL 290: Success and You

Morgan Bridge, Professor of Business

Kurt Haas, Professor of English

Course Description

Why Require the Maverick Milestone course?

The course is designed to address the following Essential Learning outcome: "students should be able to construct an academic project using techniques and methodologies from multiple disciplines."

The intellectual skills associated with this outcome are indispensable for students as they enter a world where they will change not just jobs, but careers, several times during their lives, and in fields that increasingly demand people capable of understanding high volumes and broad varieties of information.

The course will provide an invaluable institutional checkpoint as we try to assess what our students know and can do at the midpoint of their lives here.