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General Education Curriculum Philosophy

The University-wide General Education Curriculum emphasizes breadth of knowledge and development of academic skills to complement the depth of knowledge that students will acquire in their major fields.

 Upon completion of the General Education Curriculum, a student should have had the opportunity to:

  • learn how different disciplines define, acquire and organize knowledge;
  • be provided with a basis for the examination of values;
  • develop analytic, synthetic, linguistic and computational skills useful in lifelong learning;
  • be provided with a common foundation for wide-ranging dialogue with peers on issues of significance 

Taken together, the experiences of General Education encourage students to develop a critical and inquiring attitude, an appreciation of complexity and ambiguity, a tolerance for and empathy with persons of different backgrounds or values and a deepened sense of self. 

Tier One courses introduce students to fundamental issues and concepts in three study areas, or strands: Natural Sciences, Individuals and Societies, and Traditions and Cultures.  Tier One courses should help develop critical thinking skills, provide opportunities for analysis and synthesis, competency in basic skills, and a foundation of knowledge in the sciences, humanities, and social sciences.  Tier One instructors are encouraged to employ active learning methods that support student opportunities to work collaboratively, and to provide exposure to computer/multimedia applications.  Tier One courses do not carry department prefixes since they were originally envisioned as interdisciplinary, showing how knowledge from different areas applies to many situations in life.

Tier Two courses are organized into four study areas: Humanities, Natural Sciences, Individuals and Societies, and Arts.  Tier Two courses provide a more in-depth examination of topics/concepts introduced in Tier One courses.  Tier Two courses should only be taken upon the completion of the relevant Tier One strand.  Tier Two courses carry department prefixes and numbers, and can serve as an introductory course for a major/minor, but it must be a first course so that students not majoring in the area are not at an academic disadvantage.