Section Name

Research Articles


This paper advocates for the inclusion of big questions into the basic course curriculum. It begins by exploring the nature of big questions as those that engage pressing and perennial civic and global issues, and details their effectiveness in encouraging students and faculty to think about interpersonal responsibility and social space as dynamically interfacing and mutually reflexive, thus challenging us to negotiate the civic call of engaging in democratic processes. The basic course, whether public speaking or hybrid, offers a crucial opportunity for big questions to emerge because it brings people together to critically question and produce messages about the social and civic contexts in which we all engage as students, faculty, employees, family, and citizens. Thus, the article includes examples from several basic course instructors and administrators of how big questions can be incorporated into the curriculum to enhance the learning outcomes of students, while at the same time situating the basic course as more deeply embedded into the stated mission and requirements of our departments, colleges, and general education programs.