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LiberalArtsSciCurriculum

 
Liberal Arts and Sciences Curriculum
WSU Pathways to Discovery



An education in the liberal arts and sciences enables students to understand their world, and it equips them to analyze, appreciate, and affect that world. With these aims in mind, the faculty at Worcester State University have designed the university's Liberal Arts and Sciences Curriculum (LASC) to ensure breadth both in the range of subjects that students will encounter and in the range of approaches to that material. In addition, the Liberal Arts and Sciences Curriculum emphasizes the fundamental abilities and attitudes that make it possible to benefit fully from a liberal education. While the specialization provided by a student's major field of study is essential to a college education, the breadth and integration provided by the Liberal Arts and Sciences Curriculum supply an invaluable context for understanding the wider world.

Given the crucial importance of languages other than English in today's global society, the University strongly encourages the study of world languages, through the majors and minors, and also through combining the requirements in Global Perspectives and Thought, Language and Culture. Students may also choose to study languages through their elective courses.

The Liberal Arts and Sciences Curriculum is aimed at achieving the following student learning outcomes. Having completed courses in the Liberal Arts and Sciences Curriculum, students will:

• Demonstrate effective oral and written communication.

• Employ quantitative and qualitative reasoning.

• Apply skills in critical thinking.

• Apply skills in information literacy.

• Display an appreciation for the interrelations among global and cross-cultural communities.

• Develop a critical understanding of the U.S. experience.

• Understand the roles of science and technology in our modern world.

• Demonstrate and value personal creative expression.

• Understand how scholars in various disciplines approach problems and construct knowledge.

• Display socially responsible behavior and act as socially responsible agents in the world.

• Make connections across courses and disciplines.

• Develop as healthy individuals – physically, emotionally, socially, ethically, and intellectually.

Core Course Requirements
Core courses may not double with content area course requirements.

Writing (up to 6 credits) [ WRI, WRII ]
Students must complete one three-credit course devoted to addressing the rhetorical abilities necessary for effective college writing and an additional three-credit course emphasizing formal academic genres, academic research skills, and the presentation of information to academic audiences. Currently EN 101 and 102 fulfill this requirement.

Students who are exempt or waived from EN 101 will have to complete EN102. Students who are exempt or waived from both EN101 and EN102 will have fulfilled the writing requirement.

Constitutions (3 credits) [ CON ]
Students must complete one course that teaches the constitutions of the United States and the Commonwealth. Courses which meet this requirement will:

• Require students to study the Constitutions of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and of the United States.

• Consider the historical context, addressing

• antecedents in English law

• idea of written fundamental law

• context of colonial history

• failed predecessors (the 1778 constitutions and the Articles of Confederation)

• mechanism of drafting, ratification and amendment

• influence of the Massachusetts Constitution on the U.S. Constitution.

• Consider political thought in contemporary society, addressing

• how each constitution shapes modern life

• differing interpretations, including by the courts

• current issues related to each constitution

• basic national, state and/or local political processes, and the rights and

obligations of citizenship.

First-Year Seminar (3 credits) [ FYS ]
All first-time, first-year students will be enrolled in and must complete a first-year seminar. The first-year seminar will be a three-credit course with enrollment limited to 20 students and taught exclusively to first-year students in a seminar format. Any make-up of the First-Year Seminar requirement must be successfully completed within the first 60 credits of study. First-Year Seminars:

• Engage beginning college students and explore diverse topics that are more controversial or more narrowly focused than standard introductory courses.

• Encourage students to apply the knowledge that they acquire to address specific problems and challenges within the University, the community, and the world.

• Encourage students to be active, reflective learners.

• Include assignments or activities that orient students to and require the use of the library, educational technology, standard methods of reference and citation, that address the issues of plagiarism and academic honesty, and that require writing and at least one additional competency, (for example oral presentation or quantitative analysis).

• Encourage students to participate in student life and community activities that are part of the first-year experience.

Capstone Experience (variable credit) [ CAP ]
Capstone seminars are offered to students in their junior or senior year through their major field of study for varying credit or through a three-credit course offered within the Liberal Arts and Sciences Curriculum. Capstone seminars completed within a student's major
field of study will count toward major requirements. Enrollment in capstone seminars will be limited to 20 students.

Capstone seminars:
• provide students the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of a subject area or skill

• require synthesis and integration of prior knowledge and abilities

• are designed to facilitate the transition from WSU to the world of work, professional development and/or graduate studies

• may include research, leadership and internship opportunities, artistic projects, the production of a portfolio of student work, and/or other culminating learning experiences.

Content Area Course Requirements
Students will complete courses in eight content areas. Courses in the Liberal Arts and Sciences Curriculum will not generally serve as major courses.

Creative Arts (3 credits) [ CA ]
Students must complete one course. Courses may focus on practice (a performance or studio experience in art, music, or theater) and/or studies (a critical, theoretical, or historical examination of the arts). Courses in this area:

• Encourage recognition that artistic expression varies from one society and culture to another.

• Explore different traditions, styles and historical periods in the arts.

• Promote freedom of expression and tolerance of divergent viewpoints.

• Consider the importance of aesthetics and instill an awareness of how the arts improve the quality of life.

• Enable each student to cultivate his or her creative potential.

• Teach the terminology, techniques and skills that comprise the arts in order to provide the framework for informed creativity.

Human Behavior and Social Processes (3 credits) [ HBS ]
Students must complete one course. Courses in this area:

• Develop an understanding of how factors such as market forces, politics, demographics, physical environment, and culture affect individual behavior and thinking.

• Examine political, economic and social structures and the interplay between the individual and society.

• Explore the ways in which the individual is an agent in shaping and understanding his or her own experiences.

• Consider the ways in which individual and social roles and identities are socially constructed.

• Show how the results of social research can be used to effect social change.

• Teach the differences between and appropriate uses of qualitative and quantitative research methods.

• Investigate the ways in which scientific inquiry is value-laden.

• Help students understand the ways in which the various social sciences inform one another.

Individual and Community Well-being (3 credits) [ ICW ]
Students must complete one course. Courses in this area:
• Explore the growth and development of the individual and address the interconnected dimensions of well-being.

• Study and evaluate the ways that the local, state, national, or private sectors frame and implement social policies, and the consequences of these policies for well-being.

• Examine social structures and practices such as urban and rural development, planning, funding allocations, and legislative initiatives designed to secure the wellbeing of the community.

• Examine the short and long-term consequences of beliefs, behaviors and policies that affect the well-being of individuals and communities.

• Address the role of prevention strategies in promoting well-being.

Global Perspectives (3 credits) [ GP ]
Students must complete one course. Courses in this area:

• Study the culture, history, or language of a nation or geopolitical area other than the U.S.

• Consider culture, power and place in phenomena such as globalization, cultural colonialism, transnationalism, and human rights.

• Investigate issues about the environment and sustainable development in phenomena such as the use of natural resources and macroeconomic problems that affect people and ecosystems around the world.

• Study governance, peace and justice in a global context.

• Analyze the international political economy in relation to governments, enterprises, societal groups and communities from different countries.

• Consider issues such as race, class, gender, age, sexuality, language, ability, indigenous populations, transnational labor and refugee migration.

Natural Systems and Processes (minimum of 6 credits) [ NSP ]
Students must complete a minimum of two courses. At least one of the courses taken in this area must have a laboratory component. At least one of the courses must be a science course. These two requirements may be met by one course. Courses in this area:

• Study physical and natural systems and processes.

• Apply scientific models, theories, and technology to problems facing society.

• Have an analytical and/or quantitative component and include interpretation, communication and/or presentation of data and results.

• Compare and contrast various modes of scientific inquiry.

• Place scientific inquiry within its historical and contemporary contexts.

• Use and reflect on the scientific method of investigation.

• Address the strengths and limitations of scientific inquiry in human understanding.

• Encourage students to become scientifically literate citizens and be able to evaluate scientific information.

Quantitative Reasoning (minimum of 6 credits) [ QR ]
Students must complete a minimum of two courses devoted to addressing the formal and numerical reasoning skills necessary to complete college level work and to use quantitative reasoning to analyze complex problems facing the world today. All students must pass the Math Placement Test at the stipulated level. In this category students must complete a course with the MA (mathematics) prefix within their first 60 credits of study (exceptions to this time frame may be necessary for transfer students). Courses in this area:

• Acquaint students with formal systems, procedures, and sequences of operations.

• Strengthen students' understanding of variables and functions.

• Apply mathematical techniques to the analysis and solution of real-life problems.

• Develop an understanding of and facility with statistical analysis, including an understanding of its applications and limitations. Courses meeting these criteria must emphasize why statistical inference works and not simply how to use statistical techniques.

• Strengthen understanding of the relationship between algebraic and graphical representations.

• Emphasize the importance of accuracy, including precise language and careful definitions of mathematical concepts.

• Understand both underlying principles and practical applications of one or more fields of mathematics.

Thought, Language and Culture (3 credits) [ TLC ]
Students must complete one course. Courses in this area:

• Explore human thought, history, culture, art, literature, and language (including world languages).

• Present the subject in the context of competing theoretical frameworks, for example, about race, gender, historiography, textual analysis, or cultural interpretation.

• Synthesize approaches from different disciplines.

• Explore problems of ethics, politics, aesthetics, epistemology, and metaphysics.

• Use original works as the primary object of study.

• Require discursive written work, including standard references and citations, for evaluation or extensive written work in a second language.

The United States and Its Role in the World (3 credits) [ USW ]
Students must complete one course. Courses in this area:

• Study cultures, histories, and social practices in the U.S., including consideration of the ways that differences in power affect different racial, ethnic, gender, and cultural groups as evidenced by readings, texts, testimony, and narratives.

• Address issues of economic and political power that shape the U.S. and the world

• Trace the roots and development of U.S. political and economic institutions at home and around the globe.

• Focus on particular aspects of U.S. culture and how understanding them helps to illuminate the larger context of U.S. society and its role in its world.

Across the Curriculum Course Requirements
Across the Curriculum courses may be met with Content Area courses, courses in the major and general elective courses. This requirement need not add additional credits to  the students' curriculum requirements. First-year seminars may be approved for QRAC and DAC. Capstone seminars may be approved for DAC, WAC, and/or QRAC.

Writing Across the Curriculum (3 credits) [ WAC ]
Students must complete one Writing Across the Curriculum course after completing the writing requirement (currently EN 101 and 102). Students may complete the WAC requirement in a language other than English. Placement at the 300-level in a language other than English will satisfy the prerequisite for WAC courses in that language. Courses in this area:

• Require a variety of formal and informal writing assignments. Formal writing assignments may include traditional essays and research papers, case studies, process analyses, and reports on research findings. Informal writing assignments may include journals, lab notebooks, reading responses, and in-class essay examinations.

• Offer students instruction in the conventions of writing for a particular discipline.

• Assign writing of different lengths and different formats, for a minimum total of approximately 2500 words (or ten pages) during the course of the semester.

• Provide opportunities for revision.

• Incorporate clear explanations of assignments and various approaches to instruction such as workshops, individual conferences with the instructor, and/or assignment criteria handouts.

• Offer different types of feedback, such as traditional grading and evaluation, peer review groups, self-assessment, and writing center sessions.

Diversity across the Curriculum (3 credits) [ DAC ]
Students must complete one Diversity Across the Curriculum course. Courses in this area address issues of social and cultural diversity in the United States and/or in the world. These may include differences in race, religion, ethnicity, language, national origin, gender identity, sexual orientation, regional background, abilities, and/or age. Courses in this area:

• Study historical experiences, cultural patterns, and social advantages and disadvantages of different groups within the society.

• Explore social problems such as racism, prejudice, discrimination, and exploitation as both mainstream and non-mainstream groups experience them.

• Examine the diversity within each group's experience and how such experiences are dynamic and continuously changing.

• Help students develop a sound knowledge of the methods of thinking about issues of diversity, particularly the ability to distinguish facts from interpretations and opinions.

• Include materials written by as well as about persons from diverse groups.

• Develop an appreciation/respect for members of diverse groups.

• Demonstrate how to communicate culture-specific and/or culture-general ways with diverse groups in various contexts.

Quantitative Reasoning Across the Curriculum (3 credits) [ QRAC Students must complete one Quantitative Reasoning Across the Curriculum course. All students must pass the Math Placement Test at the stipulated level prior to enrolling in a QRAC course. Courses in this area will:

• Apply quantitative reasoning both to frame and solve problems encountered across areas of study.

• Demonstrate how quantitative literacy is embedded in everyday experiences.

• Evaluate a given problem, situation, or experiment, ask suitable questions, and draw various conclusions and interpretations through the application of quantitative reasoning.

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