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General Education Common Learning Objectives

The Common Learning Experiences  in the General Education Core Curriculum

Binding the individual courses within the three major components of the General Education Core Curriculum--The Interdisciplinary Matrix, Intellectual and Personal Development, and Modes of Inquiry--are eight common learning experiences. These eight objectives are then complemented by the objectives for the categories within the components. 

The Curriculum as a whole and the individual courses will enable students to:

  1. Communicate effectively in speech and writing;

  2. Demonstrate their ability to think, read, write, and discuss ideas analytically and critically;

  3. Demonstrate their concept of human events, ideas, and issues within an historical framework;

  4. Identify and describe interconnections of knowledge and apply concepts and skills from one area to another;

  5. Demonstrate that they can take responsibility for their own learning by performing active, independent searches of knowledge about the world beyond the classroom;

  6. Demonstrate their understanding of human differences and describe positive characteristics of different peoples;

  7. Identify values that enable people to find meaning in the world and in their own lives;

  8. Demonstrate their use of the college library and other resources and tools for obtaining information.

The Interdisciplinary Matrix

I. Origins 

By the end of the course students will be able to

  1. employ a variety of independent learning skills;

  2. display a basic knowledge of selective themes in intellectual/cultural history and use this knowledge to describe the inter-relationships among disciplines;

  3. distinguish methodologies of different disciplines and relate methods of one discipline with that of another;

  4. observe and comment on unfamiliar situations, by asking appropriate questions, synthesizing findings, and identifying and explaining plausible reason(s) for the existence of the situation;

  5. exercise information-seeking and analytic skills through the use of verbal, numerical, visual, and/or oral communication, as appropriate;

  6. articulate their own values and opinions, relate them to alternative values, and, when appropriate, evaluate the relationship between their values and those of others;

  7. identify the time span of human history in relation to the “cosmic calendar” and describe various ways time is measured;

  8. identify significant “texts” (broadly defined to include verbal texts, mathematical concepts, works of art and music) that express the process of and results of human inquiry;

  9. explain the significance of the concept of “origins” as a mode of inquiry into many areas of knowledge.

II. Human Diversit

 By the end of the course students will be able to

  1. demonstrate a knowledge of the basic biological and cultural differences among human social groups;

  2. interpret the significance of human differences in terms of how they may lead to either cooperation or conflict between various social groups;

  3. identify and evaluate their own attitudes and emotional reactions to various racial, ethnic, gender,and other variously defined groups (such as immigrants or the disabled);

  4. describe the consequences of discrimination from the perspectives of several disciplines, including psychology, sociology, political science, biology, and the humanities;

  5. identify and describe the various forms of oppression (e.g., racism, sexism, anti-semitism, heterosexism, etc.) as well as the different explanations about the origins of oppression;

  6. distinguish the relationship between prejudice (attitude) and discrimination (behavior);

  7. define and describe the terms and concepts related to racism, sexism, and heterosexism;

  8. demonstrate a knowledge of the history and theories pertaining to issues of human diversity (e.g., segregation, discrimination, etc.);

  9. distinguish between individual, institutional, and legal discrimination.

III. International Perspectives

By the end of the course students will be able to

  1. demonstrate a critical understanding of ethnocentrism, for example, by analyzing another culture in its own terms, by comparing the values and institutions of another culture to their own, or by identifying alternatives to their own values as valid;

  2. identify ways in which the people of the world are interdependent in such areas as language, culture, products, international law, etc.;

  3. describe cultural diffusion or acculturation with example(s) from at least two cultures;

  4. describe the relation of language to culture;

  5. identify and articulate their own values and opinions and relate them to those of other groups in the world community;

  6. identify and describe conflicts of interest and power in the international arena.

IV. History of Civilization

By the end of the course students will be able to

  1. demonstrate an introductory knowledge of the nature of civilization;

  2. identify and describe various periods in world history;

  3. describe critically major topics in world civilizations;

  4. relate the topics of world civilizations to their own values and opinions;

  5. describe the significance of “historical context” as a concept in understanding the significance of important texts of world civilization;

  6. compare different points of view of historic events (e.g., textbook’s, instructor’s presentation, film version, etc.)

  7. use library research to enrich the presentation of historical concepts;

  8. identify the contributions made by all peoples to world civilization;

  9. express orally and in writing their own positions and critical understanding of the concepts considered in the course.

Intellectual  And Personal Development

V. English 

By the end of the first course students will be able to

  1. demonstrate the process of writing: that is, invention, drafting, revision, and editing;

  2. use the computer in the writing process;

  3. collaborate with peers in various reading and writing activities;

  4. use appropriate diction and clear syntax;

  5. read to evaluate author’s strategies, choices, and stylistic elements;

  6. appreciate effective communication with others in reading, writing, and speaking, as shown by discussion, writing, critical analysis, etc.

By the end of the second course, students will also be able to 

  1. use research skills to locate source materials;

  2. evaluate source materials in various disciplines;

  3. use conventional methods of citing source material (e.g., MLA, APA);

  4. write analytical and argumentative essays that support a thesis with evidence and reasoning drawn from source material;

  5. read and analyze material critically.

VI. Quantitative Reasoning

By the end of the course students will be able to

  1. demonstrate their analysis of concepts in any of the major disciplines of the college that employ a variety of mathematical techniques;

  2. appreciate the power and beauty of mathematics;

  3. demonstrate their ability to reason qualitatively;

  4. show that they can draw conclusions from numerical data;

  5. use mathematical tools competently and confidently;

  6. further their studies of quantitative methods.

VII. Speech

At the end of the course students will be able to

  1. demonstrate a knowledge of the basic processes of verbal and non-verbal communications through the exploration of models of communication, perception, language, and the organizational and reasoning processes;

  2. identify and use effective listening techniques in different communication contexts;

  3. describe the relationship of nonverbal communication to effective human interaction and to perception;

  4. identify the unique characteristics and values of language as symbols and signs in verbal communication contexts;

  5. practice the process of small-group dynamics and interaction;

  6. demonstrate a knowledge of basic public speaking objectives and their related organizational and delivery elements, and to demonstrate basic speech-making skills in a class presentation;

  7. identify and effectively use the principles of feedback, audience awareness, communicative contexts, etc.;

  8. describe the basic uses of media and audio-visual material in a public communication context.

VIII. Lifetime Health and Fitness

 By the end of the course students will be able to

  1. identify and describe wellness, fitness, and good health;

  2. describe the effects of exercise, diet, and fitness in the development of a healthy body;

  3. identify the best means of obtaining and maintaining fitness;

  4. assess their personal level of fitness and endurance, and their individual needs;

  5. participate in practices that develop good health and wellness;

  6. construct individual wellness/fitness programs for lifetime maintenance.

Modes of Inquiry 

IX. Literature

At the end of the course students will be able to

  1. describe the ways in which literature is a response to and a way of knowing particular human experiences, using appropriate critical vocabulary;

  2. formulate and construct analysis, and produce their own critical interpretations;

  3. interpret literature using various critical strategies;

  4. identify and define writers’ assumptions, cultural perspectives, and ways of constructing knowledge, and describe how these are related to the language and structure of texts;

  5. participate in learning and peer response groups to demonstrate the social dimensions of reading and writing.

X. Fine Arts

At the end of the courses in this component students will be able to

  1. identify characteristics of recognized works of art, music, theater, and/or film;

  2. analyze critically works of art, music, theater, and/or film 

  3. demonstrate a knowledge in the arts of the creative process in a given art form;

  4. express emotional and imaginative responses to the arts;

  5. demonstrate a knowledge of the relationships among various modes of expression;

  6. describe the particular traditions and history of ideas in which the arts are rooted;

  7. demonstrate a tolerance for complex, diverse, and ambiguous artistic forms and styles.

XI. Natural Science

At the end of the courses in this component students will be able to

  1. demonstrate an understanding of the nature of science and scientific thinking ;

  2. practice laboratory techniques to develop intellectual skills such as collecting and analyzing data and drawing conclusions from data; 

  3. identify basic principles of the physical universe and the natural world, and the relation of these to life processes;

  4. demonstrate a knowledge of the historical groundwork on which science is based; 

  5. describe the relationship between science and social/ethical issues and the responsibilities of scientists and of those making decisions based on scientific knowledge; 

  6. describe some applications of science and technology to distinguish between the two and to demonstrate the relationship of technology to society.

XII. American Traditions

At the end of the course students will be able to

  1. identify and describe fundamental American institutions, e.g., legislatures, courts, corporations, and religious institutions;

  2. analyze and evaluate basic American values, beliefs, and attitudes;

  3. demonstrate an understanding of the concepts, institutions, and attitudes appropriate to full citizenship in the United States;

  4. identify and describe the historical processes which undergird American institutions and values;

  5. identify and interpret the multi-cultural character of American society and describe the major accomplishments and/or contributions of each of the cultures within that society.

XIII. Social Structures and Behavior

At the end of the course students will be able to

  1. demonstrate an understanding of the various (e.g,, biological, psychological, social) causes of human behaviors;

  2. demonstrate a knowledge of the socialization process and explain how values are acquired;

  3. identify the various ways in which social structures affect individuals;

  4. describe the political process and government institutions in the U.S.;

  5. demonstrate an understanding of the democratic process and distinguish different political points of view;

  6. demonstrate a knowledge of the various terms and concepts related to the study of social structure and behavior;

  7. demonstrate a knowledge of the inter-relatedness of social institutions;

  8. describe the subject areas and emphases of the various social sciences, as well as demonstrate a knowledge of how they are related.

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