Liberal Arts Core Curriculum

The Liberal Arts Program

Effective Fall 2008, all incoming matriculated students entering Eastern as new first time freshmen or transfer students will follow the University’s Liberal Arts Core Curriculum program of study. Students who matriculated prior to Fall 2008 will follow the appropriate program of study in effect at the time of their enrollment.

Eastern is Connecticut’s public liberal arts university and its liberal arts core curriculum (LAC) is the centerpiece of our mission. A liberal arts education teaches students to be critical thinkers who understand the past and are prepared for the future. Eastern’s liberal arts core curriculum is a unique educational program that supports students’ major studies and elective courses. The study of the liberal arts at Eastern is rigorous and creative, disciplinary and interdisciplinary, theoretical and applied, which taps the resources of all members of Eastern’s faculty, regardless of discipline. The liberal arts provide the knowledge and skills students need for life within and beyond the University.

At Eastern, students take their liberal arts core sequentially in three stages, with introductory courses preparing students for more advanced learning. The curriculum is designed in steps that progress logically from the first to the third or fourth year. Eastern students build foundation methods and concepts in the first step, synthesize their learning and apply this knowledge in the second step, then conclude their liberal arts education in the third step with a capstone experience such as a research paper, thesis, performance, or internship. Students develop complex ways of knowing the social and the natural worlds, as well as the arts and literature; this knowledge is combined with action and interaction. Eastern expects its students to apply their learning to real problems to become effective problem-solvers whether they work alone or as part of a team.

Philosophy of the Liberal Arts

Guiding Principles

Eastern’s commitment to liberal education is anchored in three principles:

  • Engagement
  • Integration
  • Independence

Eastern cultivates an engaged community. Students become engaged academically through their work on class projects requiring imagination and intellectual commitment; they become engaged socially through participation in a variety of clubs, athletics, and co-curricular activities; and they become engaged in the community through projects and programs that address the needs of Willimantic and the region.

Eastern’s curricular and co-curricular programs emphasize integration. The University’s liberal arts core curriculum and major and co-curricular programs help students understand the relationships between diverse fields of study and the impact that people, ideas and events have in all parts of their lives. They make connections among courses and between campus and community life. The academic, social and personal realms of students’ lives are integrated, so that students see their studies as an important part of who they are and who they will become.

Eastern students develop independence. Active and collaborative learning produce graduates who are self-initiated learners and reflective, independent thinkers. These abilities enable Eastern graduates to take active roles in their personal lives, their workplaces and their communities.

For more information: Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges (COPLAC)

Core Abilities

Eastern’s liberal arts core curriculum, major programs, campus culture and environment are designed to help students develop the self-disciplined habits of mind, and the knowledge and skills that allow them to successfully meet the challenges of everyday life.

Our goal is to enable students to:

  1. productively engage in multiple modes of thinking;
  2. examine, organize, and synthesize information in ways appropriate to a variety of contexts;
  3. communicate effectively orally, visually and in writing;
  4. use scientific methods and concepts and quantitative skills to solve problems and make informed decisions;
  5. understand how a person’s culture influences his/her view of the world;
  6. act in an informed and ethical manner in our global society;
  7. understand the human condition from an historical context; and
  8. foster curiosity and a passion for learning.

Eastern Connecticut State University
Liberal Arts Core Curriculum
Effective Fall 2007

The Liberal Arts Core Curriculum consists of three Tiers: Tier I Methods and Concepts; Tier II Synthesis and Applications; and Tier III Independent  Inquiry. Tier I and Tier II consist of multiple categories which contribute to a culminating liberal arts experience in Tier III.

Tier I Methods and Concepts

*First Year Introduction (FYI)3
*College Writing3
Arts and Humanities: Arts in Context3
Arts and Humanities: Literature and Thought3
*Health and Wellness2
Historical Perspectives3
*Mathematics3
Natural Sciences3-4
Social Sciences3
Total Credits26/27
 

Tier II Synthesis and Application

Applied Information Technology3
Arts and Humanities: Creative Expressions3
Cultural Perspectives3
Individuals and Societies3
Natural Sciences3-4
Total Credits15/16
 

Tier III Independent Inquiry

Culminating Liberal Arts Experience3
Total Credits3
 
Total Liberal Arts Core Curriculum Credits46
* Must be completed within first 30 credits

Each course in every category requires the integration of four curricular elements: communication (oral, visual and written); critical thinking; information literacy; and ethics.

Eastern Connecticut State University
Liberal Arts Core Curriculum
Preparatory Competencies

The following competency requirements prescribe a minimum level of skill expected of every incoming Eastern student. Students’ competency in each of the areas will be assessed by tests prior to matriculation.

Mathematics
Before registering for the Tier I mathematics course students must demonstrate an understanding of intermediate algebra through a placement test or other standardized exam, or by passing MAT 101 Intermediate Algebra, within their first 24 academic credits.

Technological Literacy
Basic computer literacy skills are expected of all entering students. Students will engage in a computer-assisted self-assessment of skills. The following skills are considered fundamental:

  • Setting up a personal computer
  • Using basic operating system features
  • Using a word processor to create a text document
  • Using the Internet to find information and resources
  • Using a computer to communicate with others
  • Using a spreadsheet to model simple processes or financial tables

Students who need remediation in these areas may engage in on-line, self-guided training, non-credit workshops, or other activities to meet the basic competency within their first 30 academic credits.

Integration Across the Liberal Arts Core and Major Curricula

Communication across the Curriculum
Students must communicate clearly in order to meet the demands of the variety of complex communications situations graduates will encounter in their workplaces and communities.

Oral, visual and written communication skills will be infused throughout the curriculum. All courses in the liberal arts core curriculum and all majors will be encouraged to provide content, support, and opportunities for students to achieve oral communication competencies.

As a consequence of this integrated communication approach students will be able to:

  1. Write and speak effectively in their disciplines in both academic and workplace genres;
  2. Write and speak effectively in a variety of genres;
  3. Communicate effectively in small and large groups; and
  4. Conduct effective technology assisted presentations.

Critical Thinking across the Curriculum
Critical thinking is a fundamental quality of educated persons. We seek truth in its multiple dimensions and we employ logical, reflective and creative approaches to discern it. The process of critical thinking develops intentionally and must be sustained by practice and nurture.

Critical thinking will be integrated across the curriculum. It will be an element of each tier of the liberal arts core curriculum and throughout the major curricula. An implementation plan will be developed to recommend the manner in which this shall be incorporated into the curricula.

Ethics across the Curriculum
The study of ethics should challenge students’ thinking and develop their abilities to understand what is it to be a good human being.

Ethics content will be infused throughout the liberal arts core curriculum and the major areas of study. Ethical theories and principles will be introduced in Tier I. The application of ethics in academic inquiry and in disciplinary methods will be introduced at this level. Every major program must incorporate ethical learning within their curricula. Students will be expected to synthesize and apply ethical learning in Tier II and Tier III liberal arts core curriculum courses.

As a consequence of this integrated ethics approach students will be able to:

  1. Describe ethical theories and principles of ethics;
  2. Apply the principles of ethics to their lives;
  3. Be prepared for ethical dilemmas encountered in the workplace; and
  4. Address ethical dilemmas in a democratic society.

Information Literacy across the Curriculum
Information Literacy enhances the pursuit of knowledge at the University by preparing students to think critically and use information effectively in their academic, professional, and personal lives. The information literate student determines the nature and extent of the information needed, can locate it using a variety of media and technologies, and can evaluate information in order to use it proficiently. Information literacy will be infused across the curriculum in four areas within Tier I: English 100 and Information Literacy Tutorial, and within major designated classes.

An information-literate student at Eastern Connecticut State University will be able to:

  1. Define the research topic and determine the nature and extent of the information needed;
  2. Develop and implement an effective search strategy appropriate for an information need;
  3. Access the necessary information effectively and efficiently;
  4. Evaluate information and its sources critically and incorporate selected information into one’s knowledge base and value system;
  5. Assess the search strategy;
  6. Employ principles consistent with the ethical and legal uses of information;
  7. Organize, synthesize and communicate information; and
  8. Effectively navigate the body of knowledge within his/her major discipline.