General Education

Distribution Areas

Area I: Individuals and Society

To introduce students to modes of inquiry and systematic ways of thinking about individuals and their positions in societies.  Students who succeed in courses in this area will be able to demonstrate one or more of the following:

  • An understanding of large scale social processes on a global scale, as well as an ability to understand the significance of race, gender, socioeconomic status, sexuality, and spirituality for diverse members of American society on a smaller scale.
  • Comprehension of the individual’s impact on society and society’s impact on individuals within socio-political structures through such phenomena as citizenship, migration, and crime.
  • An understanding of how individuals learn, develop, form personalities, participate in social interactions, and solve problems, including an appreciation of individual differences, disorders, and of neurological development.
  • Knowledge of scientific concepts, theories, qualitative and quantitative methods of research and their application (using the tools of such disciplines as anthropology, linguistics, psychology, sociology, political science) in analyzing human relationships in society, concepts of culture, socialization, stratification, and causes and effects of inequalities.

Area II: Socio-Political Structures  

To introduce students to typical modes of inquiry and a systematic way of thinking about the organizations and institutions of society.  Students who succeed in courses in this area will be able to demonstrate one or more of the following:

  • Systematic ways of thinking about how human cultural, economic, and political activities and institutions are organized and related.
  • An understanding of the impact of human activities on a range of environmental issues and systems, problems and opportunities, and of how local/regional/global environmental issues and policies shape socio-economic and socio-political structures and vice-versa.
  • An ability to interpret and apply macroeconomic concepts and indicators, as well as analyze the impact of fiscal and monetary policies on output, employment, and prices.
  • An understanding of important political issues in the U.S. and around the world, including the interrelationship of various institutions and their roles in policies and outcomes, and a broad understanding of U.S. governing institutions, actors and political processes, including how contemporary public policies are developed and implemented.

Area III: Literature

To understand the complexity of texts, their underlying process and structure, and their relationship to the human experience and to use works of literature as a basis for interpretation of the human condition. Students who successfully complete courses in this area will be able to demonstrate one or more of the following:

  • An understanding of the complexity of literary texts, their underlying process and structure, and their relationship to the human experience.
  • A desire and ability to read literary texts beyond the confines of the course.
  • The ability to articulate ideas on the nature and substance of literary texts, their history, and significance, both orally and in writing.
  • Area specific information and library skills, such as retrieval of information about an author, a topic, a myth, etc., the effective use of electronic card catalogues and databases, and the ability to create a bibliography with citations in MLA format.

Area IV: The Arts

To appreciate creative/artistic expression in order to participate actively in individual aesthetic and creative experiences, and to use works of art as a basis for an analysis and interpretation of the human condition, and to determine which analysis and interpretation may lead to a truth, some truth, or an approach to truth. Students who successfully complete courses in this area will be able to demonstrate one or more of the following:

  • A broad and deep understanding of at least one medium of creative/artistic expression, including the historical and cultural context in which it exists.
  • “Artistic literacy” comprising analytic skills in such areas as the visual, musical, plastic, and performing arts.
  • An ability to evaluate the creative process and its product and to communicate this evaluation using domain-appropriate criteria.
  • The ability to reflect upon and convey the experience of participating actively in individual aesthetic and creative experiences.

Area V: Comparative Culture

To analyze processes, problems, and prospects in diverse cultures and societies by examining social and cultural diversity worldwide, and by understanding the historical processes that give rise to diversity; to understand cultural components such as identity, race and ethnicity, nationality, family, history, language, gender, economy, ecology, technology, philosophy, aesthetics, politics, ideology, values, religion, migration, and the dynamism of culture. Students who successfully complete courses in this area will meet this objective by demonstrating one or more of these abilities:

  • Articulate insights into their own cultural rules and biases (e.g. seeking complexity and awareness of how their experiences have shaped these rules, and how to recognize and respond to cultural biases, resulting in a shift in self-description.)
  • Demonstrate sophisticated understanding of the complexity of elements important to members of another culture in relation to its history, values, politics, communication styles, economy, or beliefs and practices.
  • Interpret intercultural experience from their own perspective and multiple worldviews and demonstrate ability to act in a supportive manner that recognizes the feelings of another cultural group.
  • Ask complex questions about other cultures, seek out and articulate answers to these questions that reflect multiple cultural perspectives.

Area VI: Historical Studies

To interpret the past through documents, artifacts, and other primary source materials in order to understand the past and the present in historical context by locating and evaluating traditional and Internet sources, forming an interpretation based on these sources, and communicating ideas and conclusions about major events, ideas, institutions, personalities, and changes of the past. Students who successfully complete courses in this area will be able to demonstrate one or more of the following:

  • Understanding of and critical thinking about major events, ideas, institutions, personalities, and changes of the past.
  • An ability to explain the significance of primary source materials (documents, artifacts, creative works) in the context of past and present events.
  • Competence in locating and evaluating traditional and online sources, and in forming  a cogent interpretation based on these materials.
  • Success in communicating their ideas and conclusions orally and in writing.

Areas VII: Knowledge, Self, and Values

To use systematic ways of conceiving the world through myth, politics, religion, morality, logic, and philosophy in order to develop an ability to reflect critically on systematic modes of thought, and specifically to rearticulate important arguments and modes of thought. Students who successfully complete courses in this area will meet this objective through one or more of the following:

  • Demonstrate an appreciation for fundamental concepts and interpretations of the meaning and significance of human life as expressed through myth, politics, religion, morality and philosophy.
  • Discuss in detail and analyze fundamental theories, present the gist of these theories, and accurately explain their details.
  • Recognize ethical issues when presented in a complex, multilayered context and recognize cross-relationships among the issues; apply independent and ethical perspectives/concepts to an ethical question and discuss full implications of the application.
  • Demonstrate development of their own comprehensive world-views.

Natural Science

To demonstrate critical thinking and problem solving as applied to the natural world; to discuss, present, and write about science concepts; and to analyze and evaluate data and articles published in various media. General Education courses in the natural sciences have as their primary objectives the development of critical thinking and science literacy. Students who successfully complete courses in this area will be able to demonstrate one or more of the following:

  • Critical thinking and problem solving skills and to apply these skills to learning about the natural world. 
  • Effective science communication skills that will allow them to discuss, present, and write about science concepts.
  • Broad understanding of major principles and theories of a particular scientific discipline.
  • Information and science literacy that will allow them to analyze and evaluate data and articles published in popular science journals, the Internet, newspapers, and magazines. 

LEH 300/301

1. Over-all learning objectives of LEH300 and LEH301 sections:

LEH300 and LEH301 provide juniors and seniors (prerequisite 60 college credits) with two upper-level, advanced interdisciplinary courses in addition to the student’s major, in order to develop skills in analytical thinking, research, and writing as applied to topics of general interest. The topics in LEH300 are unrestricted, combining study in multiple disciplines of the humanities or the sciences or both. The topics in LEH301 treat aspects of American society and culture with an emphasis on the question of what it means to be American. These topics are studied from the point of view of several disciplines by applying the methodologies of at least three to issues and problems, to texts, and to other appropriate materials.

2. Mechanisms for integration of objectives into courses:

The students are expected to do "300-level" college work, i.e. to do advanced research with original sources, demonstrate information/computer literacy, and utilize source material and secondary information in a variety of acceptable forms. Rather than the passive learning of a standard, textbook variety, these courses encourage students to take an active role in researching topics of interest to them.

Last modified: Oct 22, 2012

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