What are the Anteater Virtues?

At UCI, we dedicate ourselves to offering students an educational experience that goes beyond teaching the specific facts and skills of a particular subject. Instead, we strive to provide a holistic education that helps students develop their intellectual character and become inquisitive, open-minded and tenacious individuals.

This is why we have developed the UCI Anteater Virtues Project, a campus-wide initiative designed to help students achieve success both at UCI and in the wider world. The project revolves around the promotion of the Anteater Virtues, a set of intellectual character traits that we aim to cultivate on campus.

There are four Anteater Virtues, each of them crucial to the intellectual development of UCI students. They are: curiosity, integrity, intellectual humility and intellectual tenacity. Curiosity encourages students to seek out knowledge and explore a variety of intellectual interests and is obviously central to all learning. Integrity pushes students to be honest and open, and thereby avoid self-deceit and the deceit of others. This will help students to understand the importance of appropriate academic conduct. Intellectual humility reminds students to be open to new ideas, to respect the ideas of others and to recognize their fallibility. This will help students to avoid being dogmatic and dismissive of others, something that is important to combating extremism on campus. Finally, intellectual tenacity bolsters students to keep pursuing an intellectual interest, even when they encounter obstacles or other challenges. Note that the pairing of intellectual humility and intellectual tenacity is particularly significant, as their compatibility helps students to appreciate that being intellectually humble does not mean that one must lack conviction in one’s views.

Each of these Anteater Virtues is an important character trait, and developing them will help students to prosper not only academically but also in their future endeavors, including in their interactions with others. This is the goal of the Anteater Virtues—to show our students that the value of the education we provide is not merely an excellent grounding in a particular subject; more importantly, it helps them develop as individuals who can thrive on whatever path they take.

Incorporating the Anteater Virtues in Your Classroom

As part of the UCI Anteater Virtues Project, we have assembled five online modules that are available to all students on Canvas. The first module offers an introduction to the intellectual virtues, and the rest are devoted to cultivating each of the four Anteater Virtues. Each module should take no more than 1-2 hours to complete. The modules showcase the excellent faculty we have on campus, with recorded segments from academics from a wide range of subjects offering their own disciplinary perspectives on the Anteater Virtues. There are also segments devoted to thinking about historical figures, such as Marie Curie and William Shakespeare, and what they can teach us about the Anteater Virtues. There are practical segments too, where students engage in an activity that highlights a particular Anteater Virtue. The modules are designed to encourage students to reflect on their educational experiences at UCI and thereby gain an understanding of how these experiences can help them to develop their intellectual character.

Faculty and instructors can support the UCI Anteater Virtues project by encouraging students to make use of this valuable educational resource. This can be done in one of the two following ways (for more detailed examples of potential student assignments, click here):


Option 1: Make Use of the Entire Anteater Virtues Modules

Faculty can integrate the Anteater Virtues modules as a whole into their courses by requiring students to take it as part of the course or by letting them take it for extra credit. In either case, faculty are encouraged to add some further course-specific assignments that dovetail with the Anteater Virtues modules, such as asking students to write a short reflective essay on how what they have learned in the modules relates to the course content.

For the faculty version of the courses, use the following link to gain full access to view the modules and the course: https://canvas.eee.uci.edu/courses/30035.

To assign the course to students, use the following link that provides them with a self-enrollment option:  https://canvas.eee.uci.edu/enroll/KDYKND

Option 2: Make Use of the Anteater Virtues Module on Integrity

Alternatively, faculty have the option of making use only of the Anteater Virtues module devoted to the intellectual virtue of integrity—we have created a dedicated Canvas course space specifically for this purpose. As with option 1, this could be required as part of the course or could be offered for extra credit. Similarly, faculty are encouraged to combine the use of this module with an additional course-specific assignment, such as asking students to write a short reflective essay on the importance of integrity in the context of the course they are taking.

For the faculty version of the courses, use the following link to gain full access to view the modules and the course: https://canvas.eee.uci.edu/courses/30062

To assign the course to students, use the following link that provides them with a self-enrollment option:  https://canvas.eee.uci.edu/enroll/84T7LA

For both options, for confirmation that students have completed the relevant assignments, you can request that students submit a screenshot of the completed assignments once they are done.