Signature Programs

Thaden students achieve balance through motion. Our integrative curriculum not only provides them with a broad foundation in the sciences and the humanities but also teaches them how to move across the disciplines and understand their dynamic connections. In our three signature programs — Meals, Reels, and Wheels — our students combine multiple fields of study and engage with our community in ways that foster a sense of civic and global responsibility.


The long history of food production in Arkansas provides a rich context for our Meals Program, which introduces students to the science, economics, politics, sustainability, and culture of the plate. At Thaden, we aim to reclaim our vital connection to food through thoughtful engagement in the fields and at the table. Thaden students experience the full cycle of food production— from planting and cultivating to preparing, consuming, and sharing. Through direct experience, students develop a holistic understanding of the crucial role that food plays in health, environmental stewardship, community, and culture.


Our Reels Program leverages the region’s extraordinary resources for the study and creation of film, photography, and other forms of visual and digital media. This program engages not only the humanities and creative arts, but also the scientific, commercial, and cultural forces that set pictures into motion. Visual media is a powerful tool we equip Thaden students with the knowledge and skills necessary to effectively create positive change in our local community. Our campus has a variety of indoor and outdoor screening spaces for the presentation and discussion of student-made media. 


Taking advantage of the region’s extensive network of bike paths and trails, our Wheels Program provides students with hands-on opportunities to explore the design and mechanics of the bicycle and its connection to math, physics, history, and many other fields of study. We view the bicycle as a simple solution to complex problems. That is why in our Wheels program we teach students how to ride, wrench, and reshape communities. Through the combination and application of skills learned in these three focus areas, students are able to catalyze positive change in their own lives and in their communities.