Three curricula constitute Oakengrove’s whole program of higher education: the undergraduate curriculum constitutes the first, while the second two are usually classified as successive levels of post-graduate education. At Oakengrove and because our focus is on balancing theoretical understanding with practical application, differences between the undergraduate and graduate curricula are really differences of depth and expertise, while at the graduate level difference is made between foundational education directed toward students who have recently emerged from Oakengrove’s undergraduate program (or another program elsewhere that offers the student the same level of proficiency) and a more advanced stream of tuition directed at individuals who have expertise already in the field.
In order to balance theory with application and allow for the fluid influence between these extremes over the course of a student’s career in and beyond Oakengrove, disciplines are divided across five categories (cenéla) and fifteen sub-categories (gnée) individual degree streams draw on all five cenéla and often make use of more than one gné in each. Students are thus required to follow the stream through all five cenéla, but may elect courses from any cenél depending on taste.
The complete curriculum of Oakengrove divides along two axes: five categories (cenéla) divided each into three sub-categories (gnée) for a total of fifteen divisions. Progression follows through these fifteen divisions, seeking balance first at the undergraduate level and increased specialization at the higher levels. While the progression of the student begins with the first gné listed here, the whole cycle is arranged in such a way that gnée located in one cenél lead naturally to the next. These five cenéla and their gnée are organized as follows:
The theory behind this schema is that the feda are involved with communication and reason at its most fundamental level, so most introductory or foundational levels of classes begin in this cenél. The cenél tened then involves abstract reason at its most symbolic level, its three constituent divisions representing symbolic reasoning in mathematics, systemic reasoning in cosmology, and evaluative reasoning in philosophy. The cenéla talamhanna and mitaill offer observable and applied sciences respectively, talamh involving the theory which underpins the more active and even productive disciplines of mital. The cenél uisce then involves practical and applied discipline at the most immediate level, so while language classes will fall into the cenél fedae, grammar and syntax will fall into the cenél tened and linguistics into the cenél talamhanna. Rhetoric and composition fall into the cenél mitaill while calligraphy and word-processing fall into the cenél uisce. A more detailed definition of the gnée in each cenél are listed below:
Feda (Litteratura): The Arts of Communication
1. Language: Classes pertaining to forms of expression fall into this category, including both real languages, whether living or dead, as well as invented or fantastic languages. The study of literary theory and grammar, however, fall in the cenél tened.
2. Literature: Classes pertaining to the study of any form of literature fall into this category. While this can include some literary theory, literature in this cenél pertains more to distinctive traditions of narrative, e.g. the novel, the Irish scélta and classical poetry. The study of drama as a kind of literature would also fit here, but the peculiar functions and nature of drama would set different theatrical classes in other gnée.
3. Logic: The most abstract of the feda, logic includes critical thinking, the principles behind building an argument in an essay, the principles of connected thought, and the theory of higher forms of argument. Because this is the most philosophical of the feda, this leads naturally to the gnée of the next cenél.
Teine (Theoria): Abstract Reasoning
4. Mathematics: This gné includes all mathematics from basic operations to higher calculus. Its focus is primarily on how logic can be translated into symbolic form.
5. Cosmology: Classes in this gné focus on bringing together all disciplines and arts into a cohesive understanding of reality and our place in it. While this is the most omnivalent of the fifteen gnée, foundational levels simply focus on the study of various cosmologies and the process by which cosmology is formed in the psyche.
6. Philosophy: Classes which focus on the study or nature of wisdom and its traditions are grouped into this gné, particularly those which study the nature of philosophy and ethical systems.
Talamh (Scientiae): The Observational Sciences
7. The Natural Sciences: Biology, Chemistry, Physics and all other ‘hard’ sciences that are born of the observation of natural process fall into this gné. Because this sub-category involves any discipline that contributes to what is commonly referred to as our ‘common store of knowledge’, the classes that fall into this gné lie half-way between the more purely theoretical subjects in the teine cenél and the more concretely practical disciplines of the cenél mitaill, the natural sciences dealing with the observable phenomena of the natural order.
8. Psychology: While the Natural Sciences deal with the nature of observable phenomena, Psychology deals with the nature and activity of the mind. Classes in this category thus deal with everything from states of consciousness to the nature of the soul and thought, from dream-states to gender-theory.
9. Cultural Studies: If the Natural Studies focus on observable phenomena and Psychology focuses on the so-called “inner world” of the mind, then Cultural Studies looks at the interaction of the two in the behavior and nature of social groups. Sociology, Folklore, Political Theory and Anthropology all fall into this gné, as does any other discipline that considers the nature and actions of the social body.
Mital (Practica): The Applied Sciences
10. Engineering: This gné deals primarily with construction as the implementation of design, so while it encompasses traditional engineering it also includes bioengineering and other such disciplines.
11. Design: Dealing Primarily with function and form, the Design gné deals primarily with elements of interlocking yet drastically varying systems, including disciplines like interior design and landscaping, but also the more abstract and aesthetically centered elements of architecture which, as a discipline, bridges both Design and Engineering. Classes in Permaculture would also be included in this gné alongside municipal planning.
12. Divination: Not limited to its more usual denotations, this gné includes all personal techniques for engaging the mind and spirit for express purposes from meditation and yoga to liturgy and evocation. It also covers any classes in the use of personal faculties to manifest otherwise unconnected results. (Yes, this means magic.)
Uisce (Artes Vitales): The Productive Disciplines
13. Arts & Technology: Classes in this gné focus on individual skill-sets from calligraphy and the book-arts to computer programming, brewing and cooking. Any skill that leads to the production of a specific material good and would also require fosterage by a master falls into this category, so masonry and martial-arts would also be included, although the design facet of masonry and the meditative facet of martial-arts would fall under the cenél mitaill.
14. Fecundity: This gné is concerned with fostering wealth whether through farming, husbandry, forestry or banking; it is primarily focused on the cultivation of systems in order to produce wealth through the fostering of abundance in specific forms (e.g. monetary, victual, artistic or capital).
15. Strategic Sciences: Classes on management and the achieving of goals fall into this gné, whether this involves entrepreneurship, pastoral care or social change. This discipline also involves leadership skills and conflict management.