The Liberal Arts Core Curriculum at ConcordiaThe Liberal Arts Core Curriculum
Becoming Responsibly Engaged in the World – As an essential part of the liberal arts approach to learning, every candidate for the Bachelor of Arts degree at Concordia is required to take a specific set of courses that comprise the Liberal Arts Core Curriculum. These courses are designed to provide a solid foundation in written and oral communication skills and to establish a methodological competency and a sensitivity to intellectual perspective through the study of a variety of disciplines. Core courses emphasize the development of analytical and critical thought processes and the ability to recognize and deal constructively with significant problems. Through the Core Curriculum, students also develop an appreciation for other peoples and cultures and an ability to respond to change in creative, effective ways. The Core Curriculum’s explicit goal is to prepare our students to Become Responsibly Engaged in the World (BREW).
The Goals for Liberal Learning in the Core Curriculum are the following.
Goal 1: Instill a love for learning
• Demonstrate an ability to learn independently (seek opportunities to learn)
• Appreciate that learning is a lifelong process
• Obtain information needed to make informed judgments
Goal 2: Develop foundational skills and transferable intellectual capacities
• Express ideas effectively
• Make decisions and solve problems by engaging in creative and critical thinking
• Access and evaluate a variety of sources of information
• Consider multiple perspectives when developing solutions to problems
Goal 3: Develop an understanding of disciplinary, interdisciplinary, and intercultural perspectives and their connections
• Demonstrate proficiency in a discipline
• Demonstrate that problem solving involves multiple perspectives and tools
Goal 4: Cultivate an examined cultural, ethical, physical, and spiritual self-understanding
• Understand the influence of a religious worldview
• Appreciate the aesthetic dimensions of life
• Identify the factors that contribute to self-understanding
• Identify how personal, interpersonal, social, cultural, and religious factors shape people’s identity
Goal 5: Encourage responsible participation in the world
• Demonstrate ethical commitment by making critical, principled decisions
• Demonstrate intercultural competence
• Apply academic learning to one’s personal, professional, and civic lives
• Apply knowledge and skills to influence the affairs of the world
The Core Curriculum consists of 13.5 courses / 54 semester credits arranged in the following major groups:
Foundation courses: 4.5 courses / 18 semester credits
Exploration courses: 7 courses / 28 semester credits
Religion II: 1 course / 4 semester credits
Perspectives designated courses: 2 courses / no credit
Capstone course: 1 course / 4 semester credits
For a complete listing of approved courses, see Core Curriculum Requirements on the Office of the Registrar’s website.
• Inquiry Seminars: (four semester hours) These seminars are designed to introduce students to the world of scholarship through intensive, collaborative investigations of innovative topics. Excitement and challenge characterize these courses as students are invited to be co-inquirers into topics and problems that have impassioned their professors. All first-year students take these seminars during their first semester at Concordia.
Inquiry Seminars are devoted to helping students develop critical thinking skills and fostering a lifelong love of learning. These writing-intensive courses emphasize the foundational and transferable skills of data collection, assumption analysis, thesis construction, and argument development.
• Inquiry Oral Communication: (four semester hours) In the Oral Communication courses, students will learn to produce and critique messages in public speaking and group settings. These courses will emphasize the oral applications of critical thinking strategies: research techniques, citation methods, information and persuasive message goals, and the roles and functions of group members and leaders.
• Inquiry Written Communication: (four semester hours) With the Written Communication courses, Concordia establishes its writing expectations by emphasizing generative and polished writing as modes of inquiry. These courses also develop transferable skills such as argument development, analysis and response, personal style and writing from sources. These courses are designed to reinforce the critical thinking and information literacy skills introduced in the Inquiry Seminars.
Students who enter Concordia with credit for a college composition course or with a score of 4 or 5 on the AP English Language and Composition Exam have two options to fulfill the Core IWC writing requirement.
Option 1 is to enroll in IWC 100 in either the fall or spring semester during the first year. This option is best for students who want to review basic principles of college writing, because the course is likely similar to their previous writing course. They may select any Inquiry Seminar, whether it is paired with IOC 100 or IWC 100, in the fall. In the spring, they will take the course not taken in the fall, either IOC 100 or IWC 100.
Option 2 is to enroll in an advanced writing class, preferably in the first year. The advanced writing courses may be taken either in the fall or spring semester, depending on when they are offered. Students taking the advanced writing option, however, should select an Inquiry Seminar that is paired with IOC 100 in the fall. Qualifying advanced writing courses include:
– ENG 316 – Business Writing
– ENG 317 – Telling the Story: News Writing
– ENG 318 – Telling the Story: Feature Writing
– ENG 324 – Technical Writing
– ENG 380 – Special Topics in Writing
• Religion I: (four semester hours) This course focuses on Christianity and religious diversity. This course should be taken during the student’s first or second year.
• Wellness and Physical Education: (two courses of 1 semester credit each) These courses (PED 111 and 112), normally taken in a student’s first year, are designed to teach health-related fitness and activity involvement and to encourage a lifelong pattern of physical fitness.
These courses constitute the heart of the Concordia Core Curriculum. They are designed to provide students with the breadth of knowledge and experience that characterize the well-educated liberal arts student. They are also designed to assure that Concordia students are prepared to be responsibly engaged in the affairs of the world. No one part of the Core Curriculum can accomplish these goals individually, but the whole of the Core can do so. Consequently, students are required to take seven courses in the four areas of the Core: Two courses are required in the Natural Sciences and Mathematics — one in natural science and one in mathematics; two courses are required in the Social Sciences; one World
Language course is required at the second-semester level or higher; and two courses are required in the Arts and Humanities — one in the arts and one in the humanities. No more than one course from a single department may be taken to satisfy the Exploration requirement in the Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Arts and Humanities, and the Social Sciences. One course must be at the 300 level and preferably taken in the junior or senior year. A wide variety of courses are available to students in their pursuit of these requirements.
An advanced religion course (300 level) is required in the student’s junior or senior year.
Perspectives-designated courses are designed to help students understand the global and increasingly interdependent character of the world. The perspectives courses will help them to see that no position is without a perspective and no policy is without an assumptive base. Students are required to take two courses with a Perspectives designation: one with a U.S. Cultural Diversity designation (U) and one with an International and Global designation (G). These courses are found throughout the curriculum.
The final course in the Core Curriculum is a writing-intensive capstone course. This course invites students to apply their liberal learning to significant problems of a global nature.
Courses used to fulfill Core requirements are not eligible for the pass/fail grading option.