General Education Program

Director: Dr. Conrad Shumaker, 450-5126

[1] Purposes

The purpose of the general education program at UCA is

  • to enable students to have or to know where to locate the information they need to make informed decisions and hold responsible opinions about their lives and the relationship of their lives to the world in which they live;
  • to help students develop intellectual skills, practical skills, and emotional and aesthetic sensitivities--that is, to prepare them to think, to feel, and to act competently in a complex, diverse, and constantly changing world; and
  • to help students understand the values inherent in their culture and to be aware of other cultural traditions, values, and beliefs.

In fulfilling these general purposes, the program seeks to prepare students to be lifelong learners with the intellectual and emotional skills--the adaptability--to tackle the great changes they will undoubtedly experience during their adult lives; and to recognize the connectedness of human life and develop a sense of how humanity's diverse pursuits relate to one another.

[2] General Education Area Objectives

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:

[2.1] Writing

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) that writing is a form of inquiry and (2) that 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 first-year writing requirement are

  • to be able to use strategies for invention and arrangement;
  • to be able to incorporate the elements of good writing (vividness, development, organization, voice) into their own work;
  • to be able to use writing to ask questions--that is, understand that writing is exploratory;
  • to be able to use various forms (e.g., narrative, description, dialogue) to help articulate their inquiries and develop the implications of their thoughts;
  • to be able to respond critically to their classmates' works-in-progress;
  • to be able to use writing to make decisive and forceful arguments;
  • to be able to conduct and incorporate library and Internet research into their writing as a means of engaging in academic conversations;
  • to be able to use academic documentation with clarity and consistency.

[2.2] Fine Arts

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.

[2.3] Health Studies

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.

[2.4] 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.

[2.5] Humanities

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.

[2.6] Mathematics

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.

[2.7] Oral Communication

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 communication 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.

[2.8] Natural Sciences

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 develop an understanding of how human activity affects the natural environment; and
  • to be able to make informed judgments about science-related topics and policies.

[2.9] 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 requirements are

  • to be able to use a variety of theories used to explain human behavior;
  • to be able to understand how the study of human behavior is founded on empirical/scientific observation;
  • to be able to recognize the effect of the environment on individual behavior or recognize the effect of social institutions and processes on human interaction.

[2.10] 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 requirements 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; and
  • to better understand the interaction of Western and non-Western cultural traditions.

[3] General Education Skills Objectives

Upon completion of the general education program, students will have basic skills in the following areas:

[3.1] Written Communication

The overall objective is to develop students' written expression of thought and provide learners opportunities to explore ideas and to build connections between content areas. Written communication objectives for students completing the general education program are:

  • Demonstrate the capacity to use various writing forms, (for example, in-class responses, journals, notebooks, reports, argumentative essays, research papers, and others), to achieve the specific purposes of the course.
  • Exemplify ethical writing practices (i.e., avoid plagiarism, use of an appropriate citation style) in all forms of written communication.
  • Demonstrate the capacity to effectively integrate multiple sources (primary and secondary, electronic and print) into the writing assignments of the course.
  • Demonstrate improvements in written expression of thought by utilizing various techniques (such as peer review, multiple drafts or revision of assignments after receiving feedback).

[3.2] Oral Communication

The overall objective is to develop students' oral communication skills by a variety of communication activities, from informal discussion to formal presentation. Oral communication objectives for students completing the general education program are:

  • Clearly state questions, concerns, and ideas so that both the instructor and other students can understand the intent.
  • Verbally condense larger amounts of information into concise, condensed analysis.
  • Discuss among various size groups of students so as to be able to contribute without over powering others.
  • Give a clear, organized and accurate oral presentation of course material (for example, summaries of readings, research projects, analyses of arguments, persuasive speeches, and others).

[3.3] Critical Thinking

The overall objective is to develop students' reasoning abilities by incorporating reasoning tasks and practices into general education courses. Critical thinking objectives for students completing the general education program are:

  • Identify and state arguments.
  • Identify the main point in a passage or essay and state the reasons that support a given choice.
  • Identify assumptions and state the implications of an argument, passage, or theory.
  • Critically evaluate arguments in terms of the strength of evidence and reasoning.
  • Write an essay that comes to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, supported by relevant evidence, and tested against relevant criteria and standards.

[3.4] Quantitative Analysis

The overall objective is to provide students with an approach to problem solving through logic and reasoning. It is used to identify, analyze, generalize and communicate quantitative relationships. Quantitative analysis objectives for students completing the general education program are:

  • Translate problems into mathematical form.
  • Construct and interpret visual representations of mathematical relationships.
  • Determine quantitative relationships and solutions to problems.
  • Clearly communicate quantitative relationships and solutions.
  • Apply mathematical concepts to real world situations.
  • Draw inferences from data that could be incomplete under conditions that are uncertain.

[3.5] Research

The overall objective is to ensure that students are able to formulate a researchable question and can identify and utilize resources in order to document findings and draw conclusions. Research objectives for students completing the general education program are:

  • Identify types of resources necessary to formulate a researchable question.
  • Utilize credible resources as a tool for academic research.
  • Draw conclusions based on the results of the research.
  • Document research findings, using accepted forms of scholarly citation.
  • Communicate the outcome of the research findings.

[3.6] Information and Computer Literacy

The overall objective is to ensure that students acquire a basic core of skills that are need to locate and examine information with the use of information technology and critically evaluate that information. Information and computer literacy objectives for students completing the general education program are:

  • Determine the extent of information needed.
  • Use computers to create documents and to retrieve and communicate needed information effectively and efficiently.
  • Evaluate information and its sources critically.
  • Incorporate selected information into one's knowledge base.
  • Use information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose.
  • Understand many of the ethical, legal, and social issues surrounding the use of information sources.

[4] General Education Attitudes And Values Objectives

Upon completion of the general education program, students will have had the opportunity and encouragement to develop thoughtful perspectives. They will have been exposed to and encouraged to explore both the cultural diversity that defines many human differences and the connections that suggest common human concerns. They will also have been encouraged to explore value-systems and to recognize the roles value-systems play in human life and in the disciplines.

[5] General Education Course of Study

In some cases degree programs have specified certain general education courses. Be sure to check with your major advisor when enrolling in general education courses.

[5.1] Writing

6 hours minimum required. Please note that a student must enroll in WRTG 1310 and 1320 during the first two semesters that a student is eligible to enroll in college writing courses, unless the requirement has been previously met. Minimum grade of C required for WRTG 1310.

WRTG 1310 Introduction to College Writing
WRTG 1320 Academic Writing & Research*

OR
HONC 1310 Honors Core I**
HONC 1320 Honors Core II**

[5.2] Health Studies

3 hours minimum required.

HED/KPED 1320 Concepts of Lifetime Health & Fitness

[5.3] Oral Communication

3 hours minimum required.

SPCH 1300 Basic Oral Communication

[5.4] American History and Government

3 hours minimum required.

HIST 2301 American Nation I
HIST 2302 American Nation II
PSCI 1330 US Government and Politics

[5.5] Behavioral and Social Sciences

6 hours minimum required. Courses must be selected from two different disciplines.

ANTH 1302 Anthropology

ECON 1310 Modern Political Economy
ECON 2310 Global Environment of Business
GEOG 1300 Geography of World Regions
GEOG 1305 Principles of Geography
LING 1310 Language, Culture and Society
PSCI 1300 Introduction to Political Science
PSCI 1330 US Government and Politics
PSCI 2300 International Relations
PSYC 1300 General Psychology
SOC 1300 Principles of Sociology
HONC 1320 Honors Core II**
HONC 2310 Honors Core III**

[5.6] Fine Arts

3 hours minimum required.

ART 2300 Art Appreciation

FILM 2300 Film Appreciation
MUS 2300 Music Appreciation
THEA 2300 Theatre Appreciation
HONC 2320 Honors Core IV**

[5.7] Humanities

3 hours minimum required.

ENGL 1350 Introduction to Literature

ENGL 1355 Film and Literature

ENGL 2370 Introduction to Fiction
ENGL 2380 Introduction to Poetry
ENGL 2390 Introduction to Drama

FREN 2320 OR GERM 2320 OR SPAN 2320 Conversation-Composition II*
FYFS 1301 First Year Seminar: Studies in Humanities
PHIL 1301 Philosophy for Living
PHIL 2305 Critical Thinking
PHIL 2325 Contemporary Moral Problems
PHIL 2360 Gender, Race, and Class: Philosophical Issues

RELG 1330 Exploring Religion

WLAN 2315 Cultural Studies

WLAN 2325 Issues of Cultural Identity in Francophone Africa and the Caribbean
HONC 1310 Honors Core I**
HONC 2320 Honors Core III**

[5.8] Mathematics

3 hours minimum required. Please note that students with an ACT score of less than 19 are encouraged to enroll in their college-level mathematics course in the semester immediately following the completion of Intermediate Algebra.

MATH 1360 Mathematics in Society
MATH 1390 College Algebra

or, if required by the student's program of study,

MATH 1392 Plane Trigonometry*
MATH 1395 Business Calculus*
MATH 1491 Calculus for the Life Sciences*
MATH 1580 Algebra and Trigonometry*
MATH 1496 (formerly 1591) Calculus I*

[5.9] Natural Sciences

8 hours minimum required. Both courses must include laboratories.

4 hours minimum required:

BIOL 1400 General Biology

or, if required by the student's program of study,

BIOL 1440 Principles of Biology I*

and 4 hours minimum required:

CHEM 1400 Chemistry in Society
PHYS 1400 Physical Science for General Education
PHYS 1401 Descriptive Astronomy

or, if required by the student's program of study,

CHEM 1450 College Chemistry I*
CHEM 1402 General Chemistry for Health Sciences*
PHYS 1405 Applied Physics*
PHYS 1410 College Physics 1*
PHYS 1441 University Physics 1*

[5.10] World Cultural Traditions

9 hours minimum required.

3 courses required (no more than 2 courses with the same course prefix):

AFAM 1330 African & African-American Studies
ENGL 2305 World Literature I
ENGL 2306 World Literature II
FYFS 1310 First Year Seminar: Studies in World Cultural Traditions
HIST 1310 World History I
HIST 1320 World History II
PHIL 1330 World Philosophies
RELG 1320 World Religions
WLAN/LING 2350 World Languages
HONC 2310 Honors Core III**

NOTE:

  • If the ACT subject score is below 19 in reading, writing, or algebra, remediation is required.
  • Some majors require specific general education courses.
  • Courses may be used only once to satisfy the general education requirements.
  • A minimum grade of C is required in some general education courses.
  • For additional information, consult your academic advisor

* This course has prerequisites: Check the Undergraduate Bulletin for details.

**HONC courses may be taken only with consent of the Honors College

[6] First-Year Seminars in General Education

First-year seminars are general education topics courses. They are 3-credit-hour seminars limited to 20 first-year students and are intended to be reasoning-, writing-, and discussion-intensive courses that fulfill the general education requirement in humanities or world cultural traditions. (They are NOT extended freshman orientation classes.)

Any full-time faculty member (or team of two faculty members) can propose a first-year seminar. The objectives of a first-year seminar are parallel to the objectives of the general education program with an emphasis on the core skills of thinking, writing, and speaking. Accordingly, first-year seminars emphasize increasing knowledge through skills-based instruction and active student involvement.

A student can take only one first-year seminar. No more than three seminars from any one general education area will be offered during a semester. First-year seminars do not count for major credit, unless allowed by the department. Students taking first-year seminars should be aware that these seminars may not meet requirements for certain professional degree programs. Consult your advisor.

FYFS 1301 FIRST-YEAR SEMINAR: STUDIES IN HUMANITIES Fulfills the 3-hour requirement in humanities.

FYFS 1310 FIRST-YEAR SEMINAR: STUDIES IN WORLD CULTURAL TRADITIONS Fulfills the last 3 hours of the 9-hour requirement in world cultural traditions.

For more information contact the Director of General Education.