Skip to Content

2009-2010 Common Experience Theme

The Whole Mind: Crossing Boundaries of Disciplines

The Brain—is wider than the Sky—
For—put them side by side—
The one the other will contain
With ease—and You—beside—

—Emily Dickinson


As a theme for the Common Experience, "The Whole Mind: Crossing Boundaries of Disciplines" has captured the imagination of a wide spectrum of the university and San Marcos community.  From such diverse disciplines as marketing, art and design, biology, literature, physics, education, theatre, philosophy, communication studies, finance and economics, music, social work, and mathematics, faculty and students are intrigued with the possibilities inherent in this theme.  Moreover, local community groups in San Marcos, from the chamber of commerce to local arts groups, are making connections to the theme as well.  

Rooted in Daniel H. Pink's book, A Whole New Mind:  Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future, the theme reflects an overarching desire to open the Common Experience to a timely look at the nature of learning itself.  In doing so, we hope to link academic disciplines and the broader community in conversations and creative responses to the challenges we face in the 21st century.

The study of Pink's six senses of design, story, symphony, empathy, play, and meaning has already stimulated imaginative initiatives across boundaries of various disciplines.  Pink presents an understanding of the six senses to include the following:

  • Good design includes beauty and an emotional appeal to offer more than just a function.
  • A story provides a context enriched by a deeper understanding of how we fit in and why that matters, and is more than just an argument.
  • Symphony happens with inventiveness in relationships across boundaries bringing the big picture into focus.
  • Empathy allows an individual to imagine him or herself in another's position to sense what the other is feeling, and requires more than just logic.
  • Play comes through laughter, games, humor, and joyfulness as a dominant way of creating value, and is more than just being serious.
  • The pursuit of meaning requires taking spirituality and happiness seriously and is more than just accumulation of goods.
The aim of this year's Common Experience theme is to engage all members of our university and the broader community in order to better understand the ways in which the mind works, and to explore ways to unleash its full human potential.  As we cross the boundaries of disciplines in this year's Common Experience and link the disciplines together, we hope to unleash the great minds of Texas State students.
For an overview of the Common Experience at Texas State click here