Tier Definitions

Liberal Arts Core Curriculum

Tier I Methods And Concepts 26 / 27 Credits

TIER I exposes students to the main branches of knowledge that Eastern faculty have determined to be essential to a strong liberal arts education. Students will select courses in which they will be required to master a body of introductory-level knowledge within a particular field, and become familiar with the history, ethics, values, methods, and academic standards of inquiry and analysis within that field. In order to achieve these goals, it is necessary that students engage curricular material presented in TIER I courses actively, and when possible, experientially. While modes of learning will vary in each discipline, TIER I courses will develop critical and analytical modes of thinking as a central learning objective, and will provide ample opportunities for students to communicate and demonstrate their acquisition of material and ideas.

Students will also complete a course in College Writing and select one course from each of the seven Tier I disciplinary categories: Arts and Humanities – Literature And Thought; Arts and Humanities – Arts In Context; Health and Wellness; Historical Perspectives; Mathematics; Natural Sciences; and Social Sciences.

As a result of completing TIER I, students will be able to:

  1. Recognize and articulate the major concepts and ideas that are foundational to a range of liberal arts disciplines;
  2. Comprehend distinctions and similarities among fields of study;
  3. Understand and employ multiple modes of inquiry and analysis;
  4. Effectively communicate ideas orally, visually and in writing;
  5. Demonstrate the value of rigorous inquiry and research, academic integrity, and active engagement in the Eastern learning community and beyond; and
  6. Discern the ethical dimensions of the production and acquisition of knowledge within disciplines.

First Year Liberal Arts Introduction – 3 Credits

To assist first-year students in becoming engaged in the intellectual life of the university, they will enroll in one of many discussion-oriented First Year Introductions that explore a broad, contemporary theme developed from the expertise and interests of the instructor. Each FYI 100 consists of a small group of students who will become active learners working closely with a faculty mentor , a student peer mentor and each other to develop the skills of good scholarship – critical reading, logical thinking, and effective communication – that are the keys to a successful academic career and a productive life beyond the university.

College Writing – 3 Credits

Students will be placed in an English composition class that appropriately assists them to become better, more confident writers.

Upon completion of this requirement students will be able to:

  1. Write essays in several genres that are sufficiently focused, clearly and logically organized, and fully developed so they communicate ideas clearly to their intended audiences;
  2. Use various kinds of evidence and reasoning to support their judgments;
  3. Locate, evaluate, synthesize, and appropriately document various kinds of information gleaned from research;
  4. Analyze texts or concepts;
  5. Analyze the strengths and weaknesses of their own writing; and
  6. Edit their writing according to the conventions of standard written English

Must be completed within the first 30 credits.

Arts and Humanities: Arts in Context – 3 Credits

Students learn about one or more arts disciplines, with an emphasis on general concepts and terminology, and within historical and social contexts.

Upon completion of this requirement students will be able to:

  1. Acquire key concepts, terminology, and methodologies regarding the study of a particular artistic field;
  2. Understand the function of the arts in society through history and in the present;
  3. Be able to situate artworks within historical, social, political, and cultural contexts;
  4. Become knowledgeable about critical approaches to the arts;
  5. Critically assess movements, artworks, performance, and other artistic expression; and
  6. Develop knowledge and skills in an area of artistic, literary or other creative activity, with an emphasis on expression.

Arts and Humanities: Literature and Thought – 3 Credits

Students learn how to read situations, interpret details, evaluate competing points of view, and form insightful questions—in other words, to develop supple and lively habits of the mind. Readings are selected that will broaden one’s perspective on human values and thought.

Upon completion of this requirement students will be able to:

  1. Acquire key concepts, terminology, and methodologies regarding the study of literature/texts;
  2. Consider the ways ideas in literature/texts both shape and reflect society; and
  3. Critically assess literature/texts.

Health and Wellness – 2 Credits

Students will develop scientifically-based understandings of the physiological, genetic, behavioral, social and cultural factors that support health and wellness.

Upon completion of this requirement students will be able to:

  1. Understand various challenges to human health and wellness, including an understanding of health risks;
  2. Describe health promotion and illness prevention through the study of nutrition, fitness, stress management, or other action strategies;
  3. Demonstrate an understanding of themselves as active agents in their own health; and
  4. Develop personal goals and programs for health and wellness using knowledge based upon principles from epidemiology, nutrition, kinesiology and other health sciences. .

Must be completed within the first 30 credits.

Historical Perspectives – 3 Credits

Students will study the interrelatedness of various realms of human experience from multiple historical perspectives. They will understand the various ways that the past is different from the present and how the past has an impact on subsequent events and the present. They will understand, value and use historical methods, including the use of primary sources.

Upon completion of this requirement students will be able to:

  1. Critically read, discuss and write about historical issues;
  2. Demonstrate an understanding of how the past has an impact on subsequent events and the present;
  3. Reflect on the complex, dynamic and interrelated nature of change;
  4. Critically evaluate claims about the past;
  5. Understand the influence of the temporal and geographical contexts of historical events on human affairs.

Mathematics – 3 Credits

Students will be able to understand and be able to use the arithmetical and algebraic tools needed in mathematics, in other disciplines, and in one’s life. Through the study of mathematics students will understand it as a component of human culture and history and appreciate that it has aesthetic dimensions.

Upon completion of this requirement students will be able to:

  1. Use mathematical thinking as a model of deductive reasoning;
  2. Understand the importance of variation – both how a single quantity can vary and how one quantity varies in relation to another (i.e., functional relationships);
  3. Understand the important mathematical idea of growth (linear, quadratic, exponential, etc.);
  4. Apply quantitative reasoning to problems encountered in other academic areas; and
  5. Use appropriate technology (e.g. graphing calculators, spreadsheets, mathematical manipulation software,) to solve quantitative problems.

Must be completed within the first 30 credits.

Natural Sciences – 3-4 Credits

The natural sciences requirement includes one course in Tier I and one course in Tier II;
a student must pass a Tier I science course before enrolling in a Tier II science course. Either the Tier I or the Tier II science course must include a one-credit laboratory or field component.

In the Tier I natural science courses students will view the natural world with the questioning eye of a scientist. They will learn basic scientific principles and the methods by which scientists develop and validate those principles. In the science laboratory or field component students will gain hands-on experience in planning, making, analyzing, and interpreting scientific observations
Upon completion of this requirement students will be able to:

  1. Understand basic scientific principles underlying knowledge of the natural world;
  2. Understand methods by which scientists observe natural phenomena, formulate testable hypotheses, and design and perform experiments; and
  3. Obtain and critically evaluate scientific information from various information sources.

Social Sciences – 3 Credits

Students will develop an understanding of the complexity and diversity of human behavior. They will explore the multiple factors and processes that shape individuals, families, groups, organizations, communities, institutions and societies.

Upon completion of this requirement students will be able to:

  1. Understand the multifaceted and dynamic interactions within and between individuals, social systems, social structures, and social institutions;
  2. Describe the nature of various social processes and social structures that affect the behavior of individuals, families, groups, organizations, communities, and societies;
  3. Know theories and methods of the social sciences; and
  4. Reflect in an informed manner on oneself and one’s location in social, organizational, economic, cultural, historical or political contexts

Tier II Synthesis And Application – 15 / 16 Credits

TIER II builds upon the rigors of students’ prior learning experiences as they apply concepts and principles to new and more advanced sets of problems and contexts. While TIER I emphasizes disciplinary knowledge and academic systems and methods, TIER II fosters higher-order thinking and advanced problem-solving capabilities through applied research, collaborative projects, creative problem-solving, and original and innovative modes of expression. Students will apply a range of methodologies to the production, synthesis, and communication of knowledge and inquiry into human affairs.

Upon completing certain foundational TIER I courses students will select one course from each of the following TIER II categories: Application of Information Technology; Creative Expression; Cultural Perspectives; Natural Sciences; and Individuals and Societies. Students will generally complete TIER II courses in their Sophomore or Junior year. Most offerings will be designated at the 200 and 300 levels.

Upon completion of all TIER II courses, students will be able to:

  1. Identify and apply diverse methods of inquiry and ways of knowing in making and evaluating decisions in human affairs;
  2. Develop the ability to think creatively, and come to value ingenuity and originality by engaging in multiple modes of problem solving; and
  3. Apply ethical principles to practical problems of life and work.

Applied Information Technology – 3 Credits

Students must have passed the Tier I mathematics requirement in order to enroll in courses in this category

Students will explore the application of information technology in one or more areas such as information systems, networks, data analysis, model development, simulations, graphic design, artistic creation, the impact of computers on society or the ethical use of digital information. These courses will enable students to apply information technology in problem-solving, the pursuit of knowledge, and the communication of ideas. Students will recognize when information technology will assist or impede the achievement of a goal.

Upon completion of this requirement students will be able to:

  1. Explain digital representation of information;
  2. Compare information technologies in both abstract and concrete terms;
  3. Employ specific information technology to manage existing information, solve problems, and communicate or create new ideas; and
  4. Explain the technical and ethical limits of information technology.

Creative Expression – 3 Credits

Students must have passed at least one Tier I course in Arts and Humanities in order to enroll in courses in this category.

Students explore the creative process and enhance creative problem-solving skills through hands-on activities and experiences in a specific medium or genre. Building upon knowledge acquired in a foundational arts and humanities course, students will develop analytical abilities toward the goal of individual or collaborative creative expression.

Upon completion of this requirement students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate an understanding of the creative process in a specific medium or genre;
  2. Expand and apply basic techniques appropriate to a specific creative medium;
  3. Articulate and analyze the critical and aesthetic values of the medium or genre under consideration; and
  4. Communicate ideas through art, literature and other creative forms.

Cultural Perspectives – 3 Credits

Students must have passed at least one Tier I course in Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences or Historical Perspectives in order to enroll in courses in this category.

Students will draw from interdisciplinary perspectives in order to understand and critically examine culture. Contemporary perspectives on the meaning, content, and processes of cultural production will be explored.

Upon completion of this requirement students will be able to:

  1. Examine culture as dynamic and contested;
  2. Critically examine paradigm shifts in understanding culture;
  3. Analyze variability and heterogeneity within and across cultures; and
  4. Engage in reflexivity about their own culture and identity.

Individuals and Societies – 3 Credits

Students must have passed a Tier I Social Science course in order to enroll in courses in this category.

Students will examine the nature and function of individuals, social systems, social structures and processes from interdisciplinary perspectives. Individuals, families, groups, organizations, societies and the world will be examined from theoretical and practical perspectives.

Upon completion of this requirement students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate the ability to analyze factors that affect the behavior of individuals and the nature of social structures and processes;
  2. Apply the theories and methods of the social sciences to social issues and social contexts;
  3. Evaluate the role of social institutions (e.g. family, government, economic, religion, education) in the promotion or diminution of human well-being; and
  4. Make informed evaluations of social, economic and political phenomena and issues.

Natural Sciences – 3-4 Credits

Students must have passed a Tier I Natural Science course in order to enroll in this category. Students who did not take a laboratory or field component in Tier I must choose a Tier II course with a laboratory or field component.

Tier II natural science courses will build upon students’ knowledge of scientific concepts and methodologies gained in the Tier I science course. In Tier II students will expand their base of knowledge and consider the roles of pure, curiosity-driven, scientific research and applied research in addressing societal needs. In the science laboratory or field component students will gain hands-on experience in planning, making, analyzing, and interpreting scientific observations.

Upon completion of this requirement students will be able to:

  1. Evaluate the quality of scientific data and its interpretation in published studies;
  2. Acquire and synthesize data needed to apply science to the needs of society;
  3. Apply scientific methods and knowledge in making and evaluating decisions in human affairs; and
  4. Recognize the limitations of science in addressing certain societal problems.

Tier III Independent Inquiry – 3 Credits

Students must have passed at least two Tier II courses prior to enrolling in a Tier III course.

As the culminating, integrative liberal arts experience, TIER III represents a critical component of the Eastern Liberal Arts curriculum. TIER III affords students the opportunity to reflect on and apply knowledge and skills acquired in the first two tiers and in their major. Departments may recommend specific options for their majors to complete TIER III or allow students to choose from a variety of options within or outside the major.

Upon completion of this requirement students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate the ability to engage in independent inquiry;
  2. Apply current and critical thinking in a focused area of study;
  3. Reflect on the context of their independent inquiry or artistic creation; and
  4. Reflect on this work as an outcome of their liberal arts education.

Total Liberal Arts Core Curriculum – 46 Credits