Liberal Education Committee

Liberal Education Committee
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The following is a series of motions that were passed by the committee. They are to be understood as preliminary or drafts of motions that will eventually be presented to the entire faculty.

First Year Seminar

We propose a First Year Seminar for entering students and a junior year Transfer Seminar for transfer students. The seminar will have the following components:

  • Class limit: 20
  • Collaboratively taught
  • Learning Outcomes: oral and written communication skills, ethical reflection
  • Learning Goal: fostering intellectual curiosity through different disciplinary perspectives (as per AAC&U Essential Learning Outcomes—bullet #4)
  • Focus: Exploration of one or more important and enduring questions relevant to the human condition and global issues.

Link to powerpoint, presented 9/25/2013


All majors are required to complete a capstone course or equivalent as part of their major or program.

  • This capstone must include a significant writing component.
  • Ideally, the capstone would be a writing intensive course, taken near the end of the major.
  • For majors where this is not appropriate, students may meet the requirement in all or in part by submitting a portfolio for departmental approval.  (If there is no capstone course, the portfolio should document both an equivalent experience and the writing component.  If there is a capstone course without a significant writing component, the portfolio should document the student's writing.)


Oral/Written Competency

  • The FYS will include, among the learning outcomes, benchmark or beginning-level competency in oral and written communication. A junior seminar will address the same learning outcomes for transfer students, but at a mid-level competency."
  • The FYS seminar and junior seminar will be ideally taught by LEAP-certified instructors who will complete a professional-development seminar designed to foster liberal learning across the campus.  The professional-development seminar will include substantial exploration of how best to develop oral and written communication skills among first-year and transfer students.
  • To further develop skills in these areas, students will be required to develop their written and oral communication skills in courses at the milestone/mid-level and at the capstone/advanced level. These skills may or may not be combined in a single course at each level.

Global Knowledge

We support the Liberal Education Ad Hoc Committee proposal on Global Knowledge and move the following:

  1. The First-Year Seminar should address global issues.
  2. Students should take four semesters of language or the equivalent through prior preparation. Students who are heritage speakers of Spanish and have a sufficient level of Spanish language should be able to take SPA 315/Spanish for Heritage Speakers in lieu of the four-semester requirement.
  3. The four-semester requirement should be in exchange for one of the current GE requirements so as not to inflate the total number of credits in GE.

Civic Knowledge and Engagement

1.The current College requirements for graduation and in majors satisfy the civic knowledge component as defined by AAC&U.

2.Any future civic engagement requirement should be satisfied within the major. Individual departments may choose for themselves whether there should be a civic engagement requirement for graduation, and what experiences would satisfy this requirement.


  • Students are required to take two or more STEM-enhanced courses from an approved list. Math & NSCI courses used to meet GE requirements do not count toward these two courses. Student progress toward this STEM requirement is tracked on their progress reports in a manner similar to the writing intensive requirement.
  • Waivers for the second STEM-enhanced course will be applied for students in high credit programs without STEM-enhanced courses and for transfer students with AA or X credits.

Ethical Reasoning

  • A proposal was presented by the subcommittee, but remanded back by the whole to
  1. compare ER as defined by subcom to the current GE competency
  2. Define at least one learning outcome for the competency
  3. provide several more robust examples that we can offer faculty who may wish to add the competency to a course