General Education is that portion of the Catholic, liberal arts curriculum at Loras College that addresses the dispositions, skills, and knowledge possessed by educated persons. Aligned with our Mission and Institutional Learning Outcomes the Foundations, Explorations, & Vocations General Education Curriculum provides students with the foundation necessary to make thoughtful choices to learn, to act, and to contribute to society throughout their lives.
Liberal Arts Curriculum
THE GENERAL EDUCATION CURRICULUM: A DEVELOPMENTAL APPROACH
Students will take general education courses throughout their four years, allowing students to develop interdisciplinary problem-solving skills as they continue to deepen their knowledge in their major field of study. This curricular approach strengthens students’ critical thinking skills.
GOALS AND PHILOSOPHY
The General Education Program at Loras College
General Education is that portion of the Catholic, liberal arts curriculum at Loras College that addresses the dispositions, skills, and knowledge possessed by educated persons. The goal of general education is to provide students with the ability to make thoughtful choices to learn, to act, and to contribute to society throughout their lives. To succeed in achieving these goals students must responsibly contribute their own intelligence and best efforts.
Dispositions of a Loras-Education Student
The Loras experience, including the Foundations, Explorations, & Vocations General Education Curriculum fosters the development of
- Active learners
- Reflective thinkers
- Ethical decision-makers
- Responsible contributors
Skills for Life-Long Learning
In conjunction with a student’s major, the Foundations, Explorations, & Vocations General Education Curriculum will develop intellectual skills in these areas:
- Written and Oral Communication
Students will learn to use informal writing and oral communication as a tool develop knowledge and to
- Express creative or inventive thinking
- Learn course content
- Encourage self-reflection
- Express a first understanding of research topics
- Integrate knowledge
Students will learn to use formal written and oral communication to:
- Support ideas with evidence
- Display creativity, voice and a sense of audience
- Organize writing and speeches in ways consistent with the purpose of the paper or speech
- Demonstrate critical thinking
- Use standard English and an effective prose or verbal style
- Critical Thinking and Reading
Students will learn to formulate questions and to set goals for an inquiry to:
- Gather factual information and apply it to a given problem in a manner that is relevant, clear, comprehensive, and conscious of possible bias in the information selected whether the information is print or electronic, qualitative or quantitative
- Imagine and seek out a variety of possible goals, assumptions, interpretations, or perspectives which can give alternate meanings or solutions to given situations or problems; to analyze the problem from more than one disciplinary perspective; to integrate knowledge into a larger context
- Analyze the logical connections among facts, goals, and implicit assumptions relevant to a problem or a claim and to generate and evaluate the implications which follow from them
- Recognize and articulate the value assumptions which underlie and affect decisions, interpretations, analyses, and evaluations made by themselves and others; to use the analysis of values to make ethical decisions
- Information Literacy
Students will have the ability to:
- Identify a core of major information resources and construct a research strategy
- Locate various sources of appropriate information for a research topic, evaluate the credibility of sources, and correctly cite them
- Use appropriate library resources, print and or/electronic, to collect information
- Recognize when to use information technology, and how to use it to collect, analyze, and present data in a meaningful way
- Adapt to changes in information technology and to differences in technological resources between separate occupational environments
- Demonstrate ability with major information technology resources used for word processing, spreadsheet analysis, information presentation, electronic communication, web authoring and electronic search
Foundations, Explorations, and Vocations General Education Requirements (Total Credits = 33-36)
Foundations Courses (12-13 Credits)
Develop essential intellectual skills (written and oral communication, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, information literacy) and lay the foundation for active learning and reflective thinking. Foundations courses are typically completed by students in their first three semesters. Students must complete one course in each of the following areas:
Engaging Differences (FD) ‣ 3 Credits
The First Year Experience begins in August when students arrive on campus and engage in an immersive experience with their Engaging Differences class. This course emphasizes active learning through critical thinking and reading and the development of the foundational skills of information literacy. The course will ask students to explore their lived experiences of diversity, equity and inclusion through exposure to Loras College’s distinctive mission.
Engaging Communities (FC) ‣ 3 Credits
Engaging Communities guides students in the ability to participate in productive dialogue with peers on a multitude of issues. By applying critical perspectives through multiple lenses of inquiry, students will explore the reciprocal relationship between self and community. This exploration will include participation in activities that encourage students to reflect on the significance and trajectory of their own life (or leading lives that matter).
Written Communication (WC) ‣ 3 Credits
Written Communication courses will teach writing as a means of conveying information, analyzing evidence; arguing positions; and evaluating and reflecting upon ideas and experience. While individual instructors will design specific assignments to address these aims, in general the sequence of writing tasks will move from personal to argumentative writing as students broaden their range of writing abilities.
Quantitative Reasoning (QR) ‣ 3-4 Credits
Quantitative Reasoning courses are foundational-level courses in which students will be introduced to the collection, analysis, and communication of quantitative information, skills which are increasingly important in our data-driven world. Through this process, students will use mathematical and statistical models to understand past behavior and make predictions regarding various real-world situations. In addition, students will learn common pitfalls and abuses in the manipulation and communication of data.
Explorations Courses (12-14 Credits)
Explorations courses allow students to discover interests, experience learning in a variety of disciplines, and examine issues from multiple perspectives to facilitate interdisciplinary understanding. Students must complete a minimum of four courses and must take one course from each of the following categories:
Creativity, Aesthetics, & Design (EC) ‣ 3 Credits
Students will learn to make or interpret creative works, or both. Creative works produce and reflect the conventions, histories, and traditions of the field from which those works emerge, whatever form they take, and grow out of sustained intellectual inquiry. Students will recognize that creative work provides distinctive ways to engage the world and the experience of being human.
Identity, Culture, & Society (EI) ‣ 3 Credits
Courses in the Identity, Culture, and Society category examine the reciprocal impact of society and culture on individual identity, and of individuals on society and culture. Emphasis is placed on analyzing society and culture as they shape human behavior; evaluating how social variables (e.g., ethnicity, race, age, gender, class or religion) influence human interaction; and interpreting the nature of human identity. A course in this category may be situated in a particular academic discipline, but also incorporates perspectives from another discipline.
Scientific Inquiry and Innovation (ES) ‣ 3-4 Credits
Courses within the Scientific Inquiry and Innovation category provide opportunities for students to participate in the process of scientific inquiry, investigation and discovery. Students will address a question using the scientific method, connect their results to broader topics, and appropriately communicate their investigation. In addition, students can expect to gain an understanding of what careers exist in science as well as the overall application of science to a greater worldview.
Explorations courses are generally taken in the first two years, but may be taken at any point in the student’s Loras experience. Explorations courses may count toward the fulfillment of major requirements, however, no more than one course applied to each major may also be applied to an Explorations category requirement.
Vocations Courses (9 Credits)
Vocations courses invite students to explore elements of the Catholic Tradition, the application of ethical principles, and issues of justice and community as they reflectively consider their own life path and purpose. Building upon the skills, dispositions developed through students’ foundational curricular and co-curricular experiences, Vocations courses develop students as reflective thinkers, ethical-decision makers, and responsible contributors. Students must take one course in each of the following areas:
Catholic Traditions (CT) ‣ 3 Credits
Catholic Traditions is the introductory category within the Vocations area, and serves as a pre-requisite to both Values in Action and Call to Participation. By promoting reflective thinking about the religious dimensions of human experience, courses within the category introduce students to the Catholic worldview, in which God’s love can be seen and experienced in and through all tangible things. Regardless of whether courses analyze the Catholic worldview from within Catholicism or compare and contrast it to religious traditions beyond Catholicism, courses in the category will further students’ self-understanding of their capacity to contribute responsibly to society through their discerned call to participation in the world. Courses within the category are taught from diverse disciplinary perspectives.
Values in Action (VX) ‣ 3 Credits
The Values in Action category develops aptitude for ethical decision making via active learning, reflective thinking, and responsible contributing in keeping with the mission and identity of Loras College. VA courses promote values discernment for ethical decision making, engage principled ethical perspectives, and integrate relevant aspects of the Catholic moral tradition. VA courses are oriented towards developing student abilities for applying moral principles within particular fields or contexts as well as reflection upon that application. Courses within the category are taught from diverse disciplinary perspectives and may fulfill both the general education requirement as well as specific major and/or minor requirements.
Call to Participation (CP) ‣ 3 Credits
Call to Participation courses focus on developing the disposition of responsible contributing. Courses engage questions about the nature, limits, and diverse forms of democracy. Students employ a Catholic Social Teaching (CST) framework through which they can evaluate and reflect on social problems, policies, or collective decisions. Questions considered include how access to economic, social, political, and cultural capital differ on the basis of, and can serve to define, group-identities. As the final course in the Vocations category, students reflect on their ever-evolving understanding of community needs and the grounds on which they are called to participate in meeting these needs.
Integrative Capstone (IN)
Taken as part of a major, the Integrative Capstone requires students evaluate the relationship between their emerging vocational identity and their curricular and co-curricular experiences. This evaluation builds on past exercises in reflecting thinking about vocation in the First-Year Experience, Catholic Traditions, and Call to Participation courses. Students must take one course designated as an Integrative Capstone (IN).
NOTE: The above Foundations, Explorations, and Vocations (FEV) curriculum is in effect for students who enter Loras College as first-time first year students in Fall 2019 or later.
Students who matriculated to Loras prior to fall 2019 complete the requirements of the Advanced General Education (AGE) Curriculum model. Transfer students entering Loras in fall 2019 or later will be assigned either the FEV [above] or AGE curriculum [see button below] based on the number of credits accepted for transfer. Transfer students should contact their academic advisor for more information.Advanced General Education (AGE) Curriculum
JTerm courses are designed to be an intense in-depth three week learning experience. All courses have an emphasis on experiential learning, which is an approach that connects classroom study with learning experiences inside and outside the classroom. These may include participation in simulations, on-site or field studies, research with a faculty member, trips away from campus, performance or studio art and many other hands-on learning assignments. Students will successfully complete at least two January Term courses as part of the graduation requirements. January Term courses may be electives, major courses or general education courses.
The Center for Experiential Learning dramatically expands the dimensions of a Loras education by working with students to integrate their knowledge, experience, skills and capacities. Through structured learning experiences in other countries, cities, communities and working environments, students are encouraged to design and pursue their learning objectives outside the traditional classroom. The CEL works with students to reflect critically on their experiences and to communicate what they have learned from their experiences through portfolio.
- Academic Internships
- Education Abroad
- Community-based Learning
- Student Employment
- Career Exploration and Planning
For more information see the Undergraduate Bulletin.