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Faculty SenateResolution #05-04

Approved by the Faculty Senate:  February 22, 2005

Approved by the Chancellor: March 2, 2005

 

 

Goals of the Liberal Arts Foundations Curriculum

 

The overarching goal of the Liberal Arts Foundations Curriculum is to provide students with the fundamental knowledge and abilities essential to their living worthwhile lives both private and public. The curriculum is based on the faculty’s belief that the best way to prepare students for living worthwhile lives is to provide them with a solid foundation in the core disciplines in the Liberal Arts (the Humanities, Arts, Basic Sciences, and Basic Social-Sciences), in conjunction with a multi-disciplinary education in the specific areas of health promotion and physical activity and mastery of writing and mathematics competencies. The core disciplines in the Liberal Arts seek knowledge for its own sake as well as for its application. Multi-disciplinary scholarship in health promotion and physical activity is essential to promoting health and physical well-being. Together these disciplines provide the core knowledge base in which all other scholarship is grounded, including applied disciplinary, multi-disciplinary and interdisciplinary scholarship. The foundations curriculum thus provides a common, unified knowledge and skills base to a body of students who will major in widely different subjects and who come from diverse cultural backgrounds. Foundations courses give members of ECU’s diverse student body the shared knowledge and abilities necessary to integrate their foundational education with their specialized, professional education. Taken from the perspective of the students’ personal, private interests, this foundation and its integration with specialized learning in the students’ majors enables students to live broadly informed, responsible, worthwhile lives. From the public perspective, this integration is essential to good citizenship in an increasingly global yet culturally diverse and conflicted world. 

 

Background

East Carolina University's program of general education is mandated by the Board of Governors' mission statement, Strategic Directions statement, and Strategies statement for the University of North Carolina, and by the Board of Governors' mission statement for East Carolina University. The sections of The General Mission of the University of North Carolina (Long-Range Planning: The University of North Carolina Board of Governors, adopted November 13, 1992) directly addressing general education are reproduced below:

 

1 ) UNC Statement of Mission  ...to discover, create, transmit, and apply knowledge to address the needs of individuals and society. This mission is accomplished through instruction, which communicates the knowledge and values and imparts the skills necessary for individuals to lead responsible, productive, and personally satisfying lives. (p.19) I. Instruction: Through instruction, an institution communicates existing knowledge and values and imparts skills to successive generations of students. Instruction includes all of those teaching and related scholarly activities that define the primary purpose of each of the constituent institutions of the University of North Carolina. . . The basic contributions of colleges and universities to the state and to the nation are made through students by their individual contributions through life as citizens. Through instruction in the basic arts and sciences, social sciences, fine arts, and abroad range of professional disciplines, the University prepares students to lead rewarding lives and to function effectively in the work force and as responsible members of society. Thus, teaching and learning constitute the primary service the University renders to society. (p. 20)

 

2) UNC Strategic Directions : IV. B. Improve the quality of undergraduate education.  One of the basic objectives assigned to the Board of Governors by statute is to improve the quality of education. . .  Educational quality is also determined by the breadth and coherence of the general education, or core curriculum, and by the quality of the programs that constitute academic majors. 

 

3) UNC Strategies : Strengthen undergraduate degree programs. Urge institutions to establish goals for their general education or core curricula and to review these curricula periodically to ensure their breadth, coherence, and importance to the overall undergraduate degree program.

 

4) General Statement of Educational Mission. East Carolina University: (Long-Range Planning: The University of North Carolina Board of Governors, adopted November 13,1992, p. 52): ...The fundamental educational goal of the university is to provide students with a substantive general education and to enable students and other constituents to secure specialized and multidisciplinary knowledge.

 

Fundamental Goals

The Foundations Curriculum is divided into four basic, core disciplinary areas (Humanities, Arts, Basic Sciences, Basic Social Sciences), one multi-disciplinary area in Health Promotion and Physical Activity, and two areas of competence: writing and mathematics. The fundamental objectives of the courses in each area of the Foundations curriculum are presented as both the fundamental knowledge and the basic skills a course must address in order for it to fulfill a Foundations requirement in a specific area. Disciplines represented at East Carolina University whose primary educational and research mission is to contribute to the broad base of fundamental scientific knowledge and that also may contribute to the development of new applications and technologies are identified as basic sciences or social sciences. Basic science and social science underpins all applied science, social science and technology.

 

All foundations courses in the core Liberal Arts disciplines must meet the three fundamental goals of a foundational Liberal Arts education:

 

Students must learn the subject matter of one or more of the disciplines in each of the four core areas (Humanities, Arts, Basic Sciences, basic Social Sciences).

 

Students must learn the fundamental concepts and research methods utilized in one or more of the disciplines in each core area.

 

Students must learn the relevance of scholarship in the discipline and in its core area to the student’s overall education.

 

All courses in the required multi-disciplinary area (Health Promotion and Physical Activity) and competency areas (writing and mathematics) must meet the goals specific to each of these areas stated in the appropriate section below.

 

Foundations Curriculum Goals for the Humanities

 

Core disciplines in the Humanities –Classical Studies, English, Foreign Languages and Literatures, Philosophy and Religious Studies, critically examine our diverse, fundamental beliefs about humanity. These disciplines seek knowledge for its own sake as well as for its application. In doing this, they provide the knowledge base necessary to problem-solving applications in other scholarly fields. Scholarship in these disciplines addresses the humanistic dimensions of culture, engaging and seeking answers to ultimate questions about human existence. Where appropriate to their research methodology, these disciplines focus on value, especially as regards the aesthetic, ethical and moral dimensions of public and private life. Scholarly study in the humanities promotes the understanding and intellectual abilities essential for living a worthwhile life and provides a basis for developing the knowledge and skills required for broadly informed, ethical, interdisciplinary and professional specialization.

 

Courses earning Humanities credit must address the following goals:

 

Goal 1. Students will learn the subject matter of at least one discipline in the humanities

 

Rationale: Disciplines in the humanities value knowledge for its own sake. Understanding scholarship in the humanities is essential to appreciating the importance of the humanities to all aspects of human existence, to scholarly reflection on the meaning and value of human existence and to achieving a full appreciation of life’s aesthetic, ethical and moral dimensions. This knowledge is an essential part of the basic foundation necessary for sound, ethical interdisciplinary scholarship and broadly informed, ethical professional specialization.

 

Goal 2. Students will learn the research methodology applied by disciplines in the humanities.

 

Students will learnthe principles and concepts required to understand and conduct undergraduate-level research in the discipline, how identify a problem in the discipline, how to collect, organize and analyze the information necessary to solve the problem and how to present the results of these activities in a research paper.

 

Rationale: Learning how to do research in a basic discipline in the humanities develops the ability to discover, evaluate, and communicate knowledge. This ability is essential to realizing a broadly informed, lifelong commitment to learning.

 

Goal 3. Students will learn about the discipline’s contribution to general knowledge.

 

Students will learn how the discipline relates to other academic disciplines and to the non-academic world and teaching students the discipline’s impact on our culture and on other cultures.

 

Rationale: In order to develop a unified, comprehensive world-view and to understand and be able to contribute to interdisciplinary scholarship, students must understand the contribution to general knowledge of at least one discipline in the humanities, how disciplines in the humanities relate to one another, to other disciplines, and to the non-academic world and must understand specific examples of the impact of this knowledge on their own and on other cultures.

 

Foundations Curriculum Goals for the Arts

 

Core disciplines in the Arts – visual art, dance, theatre, music, and speech create, utilize and critique works of visual and performing art. They engage in the scholarly study of the history and appreciation of the Arts as well of their creation. These disciplines seek to create art for art’s sake for as well as for its social, political and other applications. Creative activity and scholarly study in the Arts promotes the artistic talents and intellectual abilities that contribute to the general well-being of humanity and that enhance the quality of each individual’s life-experience. The Arts are integral to daily life.  Personal, social, economic and cultural environments are shaped by the Arts. Scholarly study in the Arts provides a basis for developing the knowledge and skills required for both creating artistic expression and for appreciating the value of artistic expression in all its diverse forms.

 

Courses earning Arts credit must address the following goals:

 

Goal 1. Students will learn the subject matter, the practice, the history, or the appreciation of the subject matter of at least one art form.

 

Students will learn the basic principles and practice in one or more areas of the Arts. They will gain an understanding and develop an informed appreciation of the importance of the Arts to areas of human activity and to life in general.

 

Rational: Learning either the subject matter, the practice, the history, or the appreciation of the subject matter of at least one art form develops the ability to discover, evaluate, and communicate knowledge of the Arts. This ability is essential to enhancing both the personal and the public quality of human life.

 

Goal 2. Students will learn the creative methods and skills utilized by one or more disciplines in the Arts, or they will learn the research methods used in scholarship addressing the history or appreciation of at least one of the Arts.

 

Students will learn how to identify and critique (i.e., “appreciate” in an informed, scholarly way) the creative persons, processes and products of at least one Arts discipline.

 

Rational: Learning how to engage in creative activity in or scholarship in the Arts develops the ability to discover, evaluate, and communicate knowledge of the Arts. This ability is essential to enhancing both the personal and the public quality of human life.

 

Goal 3. Students will learn about the Arts’ contribution to society, to culture and to life in general. Students will learn how the Arts relate to other academic areas and to the non-academic world. 

 

Rational: In order to develop a unified, comprehensive world-view and to be able to contribute to interdisciplinary scholarship, students must appreciate the value and role of the Arts as they impact on both the academic and non-academic dimensions of life, on our culture and on other cultures.

 

Foundations Curriculum Goals for the Basic Sciences

 

Core disciplines in the Basic Sciences currently represented at East Carolina University are physics, chemistry, biology, and geology. These disciplines seek answers to fundamental questions about the structure and function of the natural world. These disciplines seek knowledge for its own sake as well as for its application. In doing this, they provide the knowledge base necessary to use in problem-solving applications in other scholarly fields. The natural world is organized on a series of levels, each of which has unique properties that supervene on the properties of the next lowest level. Scholarly study of the Basic Sciences promotes the intellectual abilities essential for an understanding of these complex systems. The study of the Basic Sciences promotes understanding of the scientific method and helps people to create and to understand the technological advances upon which society depends. Successful interdisciplinary scholarship in the sciences is grounded on knowledge of the Basic Sciences. A sound foundation in the Basic Sciences is essential to developing the knowledge and skills required for broadly informed, ethical, interdisciplinary and professional specialization.

 

Courses earning Science credit must address the following goals:

 

Goal 1. Students will learn the subject matter of at least one core discipline in the Basic Sciences

 

Students will learn the properties and processes of one or more basic component of the natural world. 

 

Rationale: Scholarly study in the basic sciences promotes the intellectual abilities essential for an understanding of the complexly interrelated systems of physics, chemistry, biology, and geology. It promotes understanding of the scientific method – one of the primary ways of knowing, allowing one to distinguish reality from speculation.  It helps students understand the technological advances upon which society depends and provides a basis for developing the knowledge and skills required for broadly informed, interdisciplinary, and professional specialization.

 

Goal 2. Students will learn the research methodology, principles and concepts required to understand and conduct undergraduate-level research in a basic science. 

 

Students will learn how to identify a problem in the science, how to formulate questions and hypotheses, how to design experiments that isolate variables, how to collect and record data, how to interpret data and make correlations, how to draw conclusions, and how to present the results of these activities in a research paper.  It involves laboratory study, which is important for understanding how science is done, how experiments are carried out, and generally how scientists manipulate the world. 

 

Rationale: This learning develops the ability to reason logically, and to observe and manipulate the physical world. 

 

Goal 3. Students will learn about the discipline’s contribution to general knowledge.

 

Students will learn that the Basic Sciences are connected and interdependent, how the Basic Sciences relate to other academic disciplines and to the non-academic world, and the impact of basic science on our culture and on other cultures. 

 

Rationale: Basic Science never stands apart from the social and cultural context in which it is practiced.  It both conditions and is conditioned by society and culture.  It is not the only path to knowledge, but is the one that deals specifically with questions about the physical structure and function of the world. Understanding the Basic Sciences is necessary to understanding the interplay of Basic Science, politics and social policy as well as the crucial interplay among Basic Science and technology, the social order and political decisions.

 

Foundations Curriculum Goals for the Basic Social Sciences

 

Core disciplines in the Basic Social Sciences represented at East Carolina University are anthropology, communication, economics, geography, history, political science, psychology, and sociology. These core disciplines study the past and present activities of individuals, groups, and cultures. These disciplines seek knowledge for its own sake as well as for its application. In doing this, they provide the knowledge base necessary to problem-solving applications in other scholarly fields. Each discipline utilizes theoretical, analytical, and methodological techniques and perspectives in order to understand individual and group behavior. Scholarly study in the Basic Social Sciences provides a foundation for understanding real-world problems, including the underlying origins of such problems Achieving this understanding is necessary for meaningful participation in society. Scholarly study in the Basic Social Sciences promotes the understanding and intellectual abilities essential for life in general and provides a basis for developing the knowledge and skills required for broadly informed, ethical, interdisciplinary and professional specialization.

 

Courses earning Basic Social Science credit must address the following goals:

 

Goal 1. Students will learn the subject matter of at least one discipline in the Basic Social Sciences.

 

Rationale: Scholarly study in the social sciences promotes the intellectual abilities essential for an understanding of the interrelationships of individuals, group and culture. It provides for a practical understanding of why the field exists, what its driving issues are, and how scholars in the field pursue those issues.

 

Goal 2. Students will learn the research methodology, principles and concepts required to understand and conduct undergraduate-level research in a Basic Social Science.

 

Students will learn how identify a problem in the discipline, how to formulate questions and hypotheses, understand the variety of research designs to collect data, how to interpret data and make inferences from data, how to draw conclusions, and how to present the results of these activities in a research paper. 

 

Rationale: Such learning develops the ability to observe social phenomena, think and reason in a consistent fashion, and understand how to differentiate between scientific (broadly defined) and pseudoscientific understandings of individual, group and cultural processes.  It is essential to the ability to compare methods of inquiry in one field to those in another and to recognize strengths of the methods used in the social sciences for understanding social phenomena.

 

Goal 3. Students will learn about the discipline’s contribution to general knowledge.

 

Rationale: In order to develop a unified, comprehensive world-view and to understand and be able to contribute to interdisciplinary scholarship, students must understand the contribution to general knowledge of at least one discipline in the social sciences, how disciplines in the basic social sciences relate to one another, to other disciplines, and to the non-academic world and must understand specific examples of the impact of this knowledge on their own and on other cultures.

 

Foundations Curriculum Goals for the Health Promotion and Physical Activity Disciplines

The health promotion and physical activity disciplines enable students to develop the knowledge and skills required for the physically fit and healthy functioning human body. These closely related disciplines create and critically examine scholarship addressing health and physical activity. Scholarly study in the health promotion and physical activity disciplines promotes the understanding and intellectual abilities essential to making informed decisions about how to lead a healthy, physically active and fit life. Proficiency in engaging in life-enhancing group and individual physical activity is essential to living a healthy, high-quality life. Scholarship in these areas address behaviors and develop skills that have a positive impact on overall human wellbeing.

Goal 1. Students will develop an understanding of the physical, psychological, and socio-cultural factors and human behaviors that influence human health and affect the major health problems in our society.

 

Rationale: The physical, psychological, and socio-cultural dimensions of health are interrelated.  To make informed decisions about how to lead healthy, productive lives, students must have an understanding of these dimensions of health, and recognize behaviors and develop skills that will have a positive impact on their well-being and the health of society.

 

Goal 2. Students will develop an understanding of the role of knowledge and personal responsibility in fostering a commitment to human health.

 

Rationale: Acquiring health knowledge and skills enables students to make informed personal health decisions and thereby positively impact the health of the individual and society.

 

Goal 3. Students will develop an understanding of the components of health-related physical activity and their relationship to human health.

 

Rationale: Knowledge of the components of health-related physical activities is essential to changing physical activity habits toward more healthful behaviors.  The Surgeon General has recognized the centrality of physical activity to maintaining human health.  As such, increasing the physical activity of our citizens is a priority National objective.

 

Goal 4. Students will develop or enhance physical fitness and lifelong sport skills.

 

Rationale: Individuals who possess physical activity or sport skills are more likely to remain physically active in later life, and thereby will continue to experience the healthful benefits of an active lifestyle.

 

Foundations Curriculum Goals for Writing and Mathematics Competencies

 

Writing Competence

 

The writing competence curriculum focuses on student aptitudes rather than on a particular content because composing is a recursive process that depends not on specific knowledge but on fluent, flexible, creative thinking.  To concentrate on the essentials of composing, the program explicitly treats stages of process such as discovery, drafting, etc. It concentrates on exposition and argument as the modes most useful for the student and the citizen.  It teaches students how to use library resources so that students may expand their access to knowledge essential for informed discourse.  The program emphasizes critical thinking as well as traditional rhetorical skills because only insight can generate substance for the writer’s craft to shape.

 

Courses earning writing credit must address the following goals:

 

Goal 1. Students will learn to use various heuristic and planning tactics in preparing a written composition.  In drafting and revising, they will learn to choose words carefully, exploit English syntax fully, and ensure coherence.  They will learn to edit for standard written English usage, punctuation, and spelling.  They will also become competent in using the computer to perform those processes.

 

Rationale:  The ability to engage in the writing process—discovering subjects, exploring subjects; and drafting, revising, and editing manuscripts—is an aptitude fundamental to academic achievement and to a full civic life.

 

Goal 2.  Students will improve their reading skills in order to understand literally, to infer, to recognize ideological bias, and to evaluate.  They will deepen their sensitivities to connections and differences among texts.  They will increase their capacities for reflecting on experience and analyzing and solving problems creatively.

 

Rationale:  The ability to engage in reading and thinking critically is an aptitude fundamental to academic achievement and to a full civic life.

 

Goal 3.  Students will learn the aims and means of the expositor and the advocate and will learn to write in order to inform and to persuade.

 

Rationale:  The ability to write clear and expository and argumentative compositions is an aptitude fundamental to academic achievement and to a full civic life.

 

Goal 4. Students will learn to formulate research questions, identify and search both print and electronic bibliographic indexes, locate resources in the library, and read widely for selected kinds of information.  They will learn to incorporate information gained from the library and other sources into their compositions, citing documents appropriately.

 

Rationale:  The ability to conduct bibliographic research and to use library resources effectively in written compositions is an aptitude fundamental to academic achievement and to a full civic life.

 

Mathematics Competence

 

The mathematics competence curriculum provides students with basic skills in mathematics or logic.

 

Courses earning mathematics credit must address the following goals:

 

Goal 1. Students will learn Mathematics that is appropriate to their background and educational needs.

 

Rationale: Mathematics is an important intellectual activity that trains students in logic and deductive reasoning, which are important in analyzing and solving problems in all disciplines.

 

Goal 2: Students will learn to use mathematical or logical techniques and procedures in problem-solving activities.

 

Rationale: Developing students’ problem-solving skills in the area of mathematics most appropriate to their major course of study will empower students with knowledge to succeed in their technological and quantitative studies.

 

Goal 3.  Students will develop the ability to recognize and use the words and symbols of mathematics or formal logic.

 

Rationale: This is a technological and scientific age, and mathematics is the language of technology and science.  It is very important for students to be comfortable with dealing with issues in their discipline, and in everyday life, which are most commonly expressed in mathematical terms.

 

 

This replaces the 1994 Restatement of General Education Goals and Objectives available at

 

http://www.ecu.edu/fsonline/AcademicCommittees/as/ge-goals.htm.