The Intellectual Heritage Program at Temple University began in 1979 as part of a group of foundation courses required exclusively for students in the College of Arts and Sciences. The program was designed to acquaint students with the great books of the Western intellectual tradition, from the Greeks to the modern era.
In 1986 Intellectual Heritage became a requirement for matriculated students in all 11 of Temple University's undergraduate schools and colleges. Meanwhile, IH has added texts that represent important science and non-Western texts which have challenged or helped to change the shape of Western thought. Thus, students across the University read primary texts, whenever possible whole and complete instead of excerpted.
Intellectual Heritage is a two-course sequence which focuses upon the laws and disciplines upon which nations and their institutions have been built, and upon the values of leadership and personal integrity that support Western cultural and social accomplishments. The courses are part of the University's Core Curriculum, a set of course credits in eight distributed areas: Intellectual Heritage, Composition, American Culture, The Arts, The Individual and Society, Foreign Language International Studies, Mathematics/Statistics/Logic, and Science and Technology.
Students in IH 051 read the ancient Greeks (Sappho, Pericles, Sophocles or Aeschylus, Plato), the Scriptures (Torah/Old Testament, New Testament, Koran, the Sundiata, and works of the Renaissance (Galileo, Machiavelli, Shakespeare).
Students in IH052 read works of the Enlightenment (Locke, Jefferson) and their tradition (Douglass, Stanton, King), Romanticism (Blake, Wordsworth, Whitman), Revolutionary theorists (Marx, Darwin, Freud), Colonialism (Ghandi), and contemporary diversity (one from a selection that includes: Achebe, Kingston, Marques, Morrison).
As writing-intensive courses, the Intellectual Heritage courses require students to write essay examinations, and either a series of short essays or a term paper. Many instructors also require journals. Writing-intensive courses include direct instruction in writing and revision, and are supported by the University Writing Center.
A pre-requisite to the IH courses is College Composition. Most students enroll in IH as Sophomores. The program is taught by Presidential, limited contract, and adjunct part time faculty. All departments in the University participate. These include faculty from the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Sciences as well as from the Schools of Education, Business, Communications and Theater, Social Administration, Law, Engineering, and Medical School.