Upon completion of the General Education program, students will have an introductory comprehension of certain fundamental areas of human understanding and intellectual inquiry; they will have been encouraged to develop a sense of how humanity's diverse pursuits relate to one another.
The general education program has ten areas with the following purposes and student objectives/outcomes:
The first-year Writing requirement exists so that students can most directly and deeply learn how to explore ideas through writing--everything from discovering topics, to generating material, to making decisive and forceful arguments. The Writing requirement is based on two fundamental assumptions: 1) Writing is a form of inquiry and 2) writing is rewriting The first of these assumptions entails encouraging students to take risks in their writing, to see it as a means of adding to their knowledge and their wisdom. The second assumption is based on the conviction that writing is an iterative process involving prewriting, drafting, revising and editing
Objectives for students completing the Writing requirements are:
- to use strategies for invention and arrangement;
- to incorporate the elements of good writing (vividness, development, organization, voice) into their own work;
- to use writing to ask questions--that is, understand that writing is exploratory;
- to use various forms (e.g., narrative, description, dialogue) to help articulate their inquiries and develop the implications of their thoughts;
- to respond critically to their classmates' works-in-progress;
- to use writing to make decisive and forceful arguments;
- to conduct and incorporate library and Internet research into their writing as a means of engaging in academic conversations;
- to use academic documentation with clarity and consistency.
The fine (visual and performing) arts create and interpret works of the imagination by exploring the way humans use images, sound, movement, forms, staging, language, or non-linguistic means to communicate meaning or to produce aesthetic responses. The goal of the fine arts is to express aesthetic or cognitive insights about the human condition.
Objectives for students completing the Fine Arts requirement are:
- to be familiar with some of the classic works of art;
- to better understand the nature and function of different artistic forms;
- to better understand artists' creative processes;
- to understand what distinguishes the form, content, and style of a work of art;
- to be familiar with basic aesthetic concepts and principles;
- to be familiar with the basic criteria used to interpret and judge a work of art.
The Health Studies component of the general education program emphasizes the social, spiritual, physical, emotional, environmental, and intellectual components of health. Courses in the health studies provide students with the knowledge, behaviors, values, and skills necessary to be effective health consumers and to take a more active and enlightened role in controlling their overall health and fitness. The health studies area recognizes that students need to meet current national and local health objectives, emphasizing health promotion, health protection, and preventive services. Health Studies is a broad concept and requires an interdisciplinary approach to achieve its full potential.
Objectives for students completing the Health Studies requirement are:
- to be able to identify the priority health risk behaviors of college students including: unintentional and intentional injuries, tobacco use, alcohol and other drug use, sexual behaviors, unhealthy dietary practices, and physical inactivity;
- to exhibit characteristics of a healthy lifestyle by developing skills to decrease morbidity and mortality from these priority health risk behaviors;
- to be able to assess current lifestyle behaviors and understand the impact of these behaviors on the quality and longevity of life;
- to implement strategies to engage in and maintain a healthy lifestyle including: initiation of behaviors consistent with a healthy lifestyle, adaptation of these behaviors to changes occurring throughout life, demonstration of the skills necessary to engage in a lifetime of physical activity, and utilization of available health programs;
- to recognize influences of different cultural traditions, values, and beliefs inherent in health.
American History and Government
The American History and Government requirement seeks to introduce students to the development of American society and thought. It does so through the study of the American people's historical experience and the study of the development of American political institutions and processes.
Objectives for students completing the American History and Government requirement are:
- to better understand significant political, social, economic, and cultural developments in the history of the United States;
- to better understand the constitution, government, and political processes of the United States;
- to be familiar with enduring expressions of American thought by studying one or more major American documents;
- to be familiar with the diversity of peoples and cultural traditions that have contributed to the American experience;
- to be familiar with the way Americans have adapted Western and non-Western traditions to develop their own distinctive cultural and political system.
The general education Humanities requirement seeks to enable students to interpret, evaluate, and appreciate works of human culture that can contribute to a better understanding of the human condition. It does so primarily by exploring the ways humans express meaning and values and by examining enduring questions about the nature of the human condition.
Objectives for students completing the Humanities requirement are:
- to be familiar with some of the classic works of human culture;
- to better understand and appreciate the nature of human expression and its roles in human culture;
- to understand that a work of human culture exists within social, historical, and linguistic settings that affect its meaning;
- to understand that meaning is always mediated by interpretation and that a work of human culture may have multiple interpretations;
- to be able to employ the skills of critical thinking, reading, writing, speaking, and listening to interpret a work of human culture.
Mathematics provides an approach to problem solving through logic and reasoning. It is used to identify, analyze, generalize, and communicate quantitative relationships.
Objectives for students completing the Mathematics requirement are:
- to know the fundamental notation and rules of a mathematical system;
- to be able to recognize problems to which mathematics can be applied;
- to be able to translate problems into mathematical form;
- to be able to construct and interpret visual representations of mathematical relationships;
- to construct logical and valid mathematical arguments;
- to determine mathematical relationships and solutions to problems;
- to clearly communicate mathematical relationships and solutions.
The Oral Communication requirement helps students become effective communicators in a variety of settings. Students learn theories of effective communication and have ample opportunity to practice and improve their communication skills. Specifically, oral communication improves students' conversational, presentational and problem-solving skills. The study of oral communication improves students' ability to evaluate messages and employ critical thinking.
Objectives for students completing the Oral Communications requirement are:
- to be able to communicate effectively in a variety of situations;
- to be able to listen effectively in a variety of situations;
- to be able to understand the influence of perception on communication;
- to be able to understand the nature and the use of language as a communication tool;
- to be able to think critically and evaluate a variety of messages.
The goal of the natural sciences is to better understand nature. The natural sciences systematically study natural phenomena. They do so by observing nature, by collecting and analyzing data, by forming, testing, and revising hypotheses, and by developing theories.
Objectives for students completing the Natural Sciences requirements are:
- to understand what the realm of science is, and why science is important to their lives;
- to understand current principles and theories used to explain natural phenomena and to understand the role of theories in science;
- to do science as a process by conducting systematic observation, formulating and testing hypotheses, collecting and evaluating data, recognizing sources of error and uncertainty in experimental methods, and disseminating results;
- to have developed an understanding of how human activity affects the natural environment;
- to be able to make informed judgments about science-related topics and policies.
Behavioral and Social Sciences
The behavioral and social sciences are characterized by their application of both rational and empirical methods to the ways in which individuals, organizations, and societies are influenced by the environment as well as by personal and societal goals.
Objectives for students completing the Behavioral and Social Sciences requirement are:
- to be able to use a variety of theories to explain human behavior;
- to be able to describe how the study of human behavior is founded on empirical/scientific observation;
- to be able to recognize the effects of the environment on individual behavior or recognize the effects of social institutions and processes on human interaction.
World Cultural Traditions
The World Cultural Traditions requirement introduces students to broadly significant elements of the cultural traditions of the world in their richness, diversity, and complexity. Each course used to fulfill this requirement entails comparison between several Western and non-Western cultures.
Objectives for students completing the World Cultural Traditions requirement are:
- to better understand significant social, economic, and political developments in Western and non-Western history;
- to better understand significant cultural developments in Western and non-Western civilization (religion, art, philosophy, language, and literature);
- to be familiar with enduring expressions of human thought by study of some major texts of Western and non-Western cultures;
- better understand the interaction of Western and non-Western cultural traditions.