A Flexible
Liberal Arts Curriculum

Providing you with the skills demanded by employers and graduate schools, as well as the preparation in interdisciplinary research and knowledge necessary to be a lifelong learner.

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.

THE LORAS COLLEGE GENREAL EDUCATION CURRICULUM

GOALS AND PHILOSOPHY
A. 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.

B. Teaching Philosophy
We believe that:

  1. the main purpose of a liberal arts college is to create a learning community that promotes for all the desire to know and the ability to learn;
  2. students retain more of what they learn when they generate and complete projects and activities that apply theories and ideas to concrete research and real world situations;
  3. students enhance their own critical and creative intelligence when they collaborate and share knowledge;
  4. students are more likely to construct original, innovative work when they connect ideas and concepts from different disciplines;
  5. the most effective teachers recognize differences among learners and use various techniques to help everyone learn; and
  6. excellent teaching and learning require close, continuing cooperation among faculty, students, staff, and administration who each take personal responsibility for learning.

C. Dispositions of a Loras-Educated Student

  1. Active learners
  2. Reflective thinkers
  3. Ethical decision-makers
  4. Responsible contributors

D. Skills for Life-Long Learning
A Loras degree will develop intellectual skills in these areas:

  1. Written and Oral Communication
    Students will learn to use informal writing and oral communication as a tool to develop knowledge and to:
    a. Express creative or inventive thinking
    b. Learn course content
    c. Encourage self-reflection
    d. Express a first understanding of research topics
    e. Integrate knowledgeStudents will learn to use formal written and oral communication to:
    a. Support ideas with evidence
    b. Display creativity, voice and a sense of audience
    c. Organize writing and speeches in ways consistent with the purpose of the paper or speech
    d. Demonstrate critical thinking
    e. Use standard English and an effective prose or verbal style.
  2. Critical Thinking and Reading
    a. Students will learn to formulate questions and to set goals for an inquiry to:
    b. 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
    c. 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
    d. 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
    e. 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
    .
  3. Information Literacy
    Students will have the ability to:
    a. Identify a core of major information resources and construct a research strategy
    b. Locate various sources of appropriate information for a research topic, evaluate the credibility of sources, and correctly cite them
    c. Use appropriate library resources, print and or/electronic, to collect information
    d. Recognize when to use information technology, and how to use it to collect, analyze, and present data in a meaningful way
    e. Adapt to changes in information technology and to differences in technological resources between separate occupational environments
    f. Demonstrate ability with major information technology resources used for word processing, spreadsheet analysis, information presentation, electronic communication, web authoring and electronic search
GENERAL EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS

GENERAL EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS (TOTAL CREDITS=35-36)

FOUNDATIONAL COURSES: 12-13 CREDITS
Foundational courses prepare students for active learning and reflective thinking by providing the skills and common knowledge necessary to a liberal arts education at Loras College. Although initiated in these courses, the methodology of active learning and the development of writing and communication skills continues at all levels of the general education program. The writing, communication, and mathematical modeling courses are tiered by aptitude and ability.

  1. Modes of Inquiry (FI) (3 cr.)
  2. Foundational Writing (FW) (3 cr.)
  3. Public Speaking (FS) (3 cr.)
  4. Mathematical Modeling (FM) (3-4 cr.)

MISSION COURSES: 6 CREDITS
The Democracy and Global Diversity and Catholic Tradition courses are writing-intensive courses where students will be asked to further develop their research and research-based writing skill; presentation skills and critical thinking ability.

  1. Catholic Tradition (MC) (3 cr.)
  2. Democracy and Global Diversity (MD) (3 cr.)

ADVANCED GENERAL EDUCATION COURSES: 15-16 CREDITS
The advanced level of the general education curriculum is intended to a) acquaint students with the key modes of scholarly inquiry and discourse, b) provide them with the opportunity to make connections and understand the interdependence between and among different areas of knowledge, c) allow them to experience learning as a shared enterprise, and d) offer them opportunities to make ethical decisions about the critical issues facing the human community.

  1. The Aesthetic Dimension of Human Experience (AA) (3 cr.)
    Students will ask questions about the nature and purpose of human creativity. Courses which are used to fulfill this requirement will examine works of literature, art, drama, film, dance, or music or ask students to produce their own creative works and reflect on the context and process of that creation in order to gain an understanding of aesthetic experience. Students explore how the fine arts and literature enrich, shape, and express the human spirit.The student will begin to address the following questions and topics:

    1. How do the creative processes both reflect and shape the experience of being human?
    2. What is the nature and purpose of literature or the fine arts?
    3.  In what ways do the fine arts or literature articulate, perpetuate, or transform cultural and other values and meanings in a civilization?
    4. What are the various contexts in which aesthetic works are produced?
    5. How do writers, artists, or composers express meaning through the structure of their work?
      .
  2. Cultural Traditions Across Generations (AC) (3 cr.)
    Students will ask questions about cultural traditions in order to free themselves from a narrowness of vision which is restricted to their own time and place. Courses that are used to fulfill this requirement examine the past or contemporary cultural contexts within which decisions are made and ideas and institutions evolve. Students will analyze cultural information in order to recognize the role expectations and social conventions that shape human behavior within that society. They will decide how collective human memory, given shape and discipline by methods designed to explore the past, provides the experience from which one might better define the present and consider the future. They should be able to both empathize with the culture under study and to critically analyze its patterns of living or development.The student will begin to address the following questions and topics:

    1. What is culture?
    2. How does one systematically collect and analyze cultural information?
    3. What generalizations or stereotypes exist about the subject culture? How does one evaluate those generalizations?
    4. How do role expectations and social variables such as age, gender, class, religion, ethnicity, etc., affect how humans interact and develop a worldview within the subject culture?
    5. How does the study of historical development help one to understand the complex nature of change and continuity in human experience?
      .
  3. Foundations for Values and Decisions (AV) (3 cr.)
    Students will ask questions about the consequences of personal and social values, the nature of reality, and the purpose of human life. Courses that are used to fulfill this requirement will explore and help the student gain an understanding of central questions of human destiny, values, and decision-making. These issues may be addressed through philosophical analysis; through the exploration of spiritual and religious values, or through the investigation of a social justice issue. All courses will include at least an introduction to the study of the specific moral or spiritual principles on which value judgments or decisions to act are made about the central issue of the course.The student will begin to successfully discern, understand, and ultimately incorporate into his or her own life, answers to the following questions:

    1. How does one formulate a reasonable and coherent set of moral values?
    2. What are the methods for identifying specific moral and factual assumptions underlying a given moral controversy?
    3. Are there moral principles which have received cross-cultural affirmation?
    4. How does one connect moral reflection to action?
    5. What constitutes a philosophy of life and world view? How does one formulate satisfactory versions of a philosophy of life and a world view?
      .
  4. Humanity in the Physical Universe (AH) (3-4 cr.)
    Students will ask questions about how the natural sciences provide a powerful means to understand and shape the world. Courses which are used to fulfill this requirement will address multiple dimensions of the material universe and help the student achieve levels of competency and capacity in the elements of “scientific literacy” on both the theoretical and applied (i.e., research experience) levels. Students will be given the chance to help design experiments to demonstrate the principles on which science is based. Courses which are used to fulfill this requirement will presuppose familiarity with quantitative reasoning, methods of analysis, and other skills achieved within the prerequisite general education mathematics courses.The student will begin to address the following questions and topics:

    1. What is the scientific method? What is the role of experiments in analyzing nature?
    2. What is the nature and role of truth, evidence, and proof in science?
    3. What are the connections among the sciences, and between the sciences and mathematics?
    4. How can science be used to place important public issues in context?
      .
  5. Identity and Community (AI) (3 cr.)
    Students will ask questions about how human identity is formed. Courses which are used to fulfill this requirement will address the individual in relation to self and society. Students will explore dimensions of human development and interaction in order to understand how the individual and society interact to construct personal identity. Students will become aware of how they could use that knowledge to take a more purposeful and active approach toward their own interaction with the larger community.The student will begin to address the following sorts of questions and topics:

    1. What does it mean to be human?
    2. What is the nature of the self?
    3. How do humans, precisely as social and psychological beings, create their identity through everyday interactions with other people and institutions?
    4. How do humans create their identity through self-expression?
    5. How do situational variables and social conventions shape human behavior?
      .
  6. PORTFOLIO (PJ)
    After completing the majority of required general education courses and courses in their majors, Loras students will reflect on how they have developed the dispositions and skills necessary to continue or complete a program of liberal learning. To support their claims, each student will create and circulate an electronic portfolio as either a stand-alone course or as part of the capstone or culminating requirement in the major. The College will review these portfolios and use them to assess the extent to which students meet the specific goals of its general education curriculum.In their portfolios, students will reflect on artifacts collected from their general education courses and other educational experiences to demonstrate progress toward liberal learning objectives.The portfolios should demonstrate:

    1. That students understand the dispositions desired of a Loras-educated person
    2. That they have collected a body of significant work that reveals their ability to communicate and think
    3.  That they have organized that body of work as evidence to support the claim that they have progressed toward the desired dispositions
    4.  That they have integrated their involvement in general education and major courses, experiential learning (if taken), and co-curricular activities to produce an electronic document that is accessible to a community of readers and evaluators to include faculty, potential employers, graduate schools, and other students

Prerequisite: Completion of three of the five advanced general education courses.

FOUNDATIONAL GENERAL EDUCATION COURSES

Foundational General Educational Courses
12-13 CREDITS
Foundational courses prepare students for active learning and reflective thinking by providing the skills and common knowledge necessary to a liberal arts education at Loras College. Although initiated in these courses, the methodology of active learning and the development of writing and communication skills continues at all levels of the general education program. The writing, communication, and mathematical modeling courses are tiered by aptitude and ability.

  • Modes of Inquiry (FI) (3 credits)
  • College Writing (FW) (3 credits)
  • Public Speaking (FS) (3 credits)
  • Mathematical Modeling (FM) (3 – 4 credits)

Mission Courses
6 CREDITS
The Democracy and Global Diversity and Catholic Tradition courses are writing-intensive courses where students will be asked to further develop their research and research-based writing skill; presentation skills and critical thinking ability.

  • Democracy and Global Diversity (MD) (3 credits)
  • Catholic Tradition (MC) (3 credits)

 

For more information on these courses see the Undergraduate Bulletin

ADVANCED GENERAL EDUCATION COURSES

Advanced General Ed Courses
15-16 CREDITS

The advanced level of the general education curriculum is intended to a) acquaint students with the key modes of scholarly inquiry and discourse, b) provide them with the opportunity to make connections and understand the interdependence between and among different areas of knowledge, c) allow them to experience learning as a shared enterprise, and d) offer them opportunities to make ethical decisions about the critical issues facing the human community.

  1. The Aesthetic Dimension of Human Experience (AA) (3 cr.)
    Students will ask questions about the nature and purpose of human creativity. Courses which are used to fulfill this requirement will examine works of literature, art, drama, film, dance, or music or ask students to produce their own creative works and reflect on the context and process of that creation in order to gain an understanding of aesthetic experience. Students explore how the fine arts and literature enrich, shape, and express the human spirit.The student will begin to address the following questions and topics:

    1. How do the creative processes both reflect and shape the experience of being human?
    2. What is the nature and purpose of literature or the fine arts?
    3.  In what ways do the fine arts or literature articulate, perpetuate, or transform cultural and other values and meanings in a civilization?
    4. What are the various contexts in which aesthetic works are produced?
    5. How do writers, artists, or composers express meaning through the structure of their work?
      .
  2. Cultural Traditions Across Generations (AC) (3 cr.)
    Students will ask questions about cultural traditions in order to free themselves from a narrowness of vision which is restricted to their own time and place. Courses that are used to fulfill this requirement examine the past or contemporary cultural contexts within which decisions are made and ideas and institutions evolve. Students will analyze cultural information in order to recognize the role expectations and social conventions that shape human behavior within that society. They will decide how collective human memory, given shape and discipline by methods designed to explore the past, provides the experience from which one might better define the present and consider the future. They should be able to both empathize with the culture under study and to critically analyze its patterns of living or development.The student will begin to address the following questions and topics:

    1. What is culture?
    2. How does one systematically collect and analyze cultural information?
    3. What generalizations or stereotypes exist about the subject culture? How does one evaluate those generalizations?
    4. How do role expectations and social variables such as age, gender, class, religion, ethnicity, etc., affect how humans interact and develop a worldview within the subject culture?
    5. How does the study of historical development help one to understand the complex nature of change and continuity in human experience?
      .
  3. Foundations for Values and Decisions (AV) (3 cr.)
    Students will ask questions about the consequences of personal and social values, the nature of reality, and the purpose of human life. Courses that are used to fulfill this requirement will explore and help the student gain an understanding of central questions of human destiny, values, and decision-making. These issues may be addressed through philosophical analysis; through the exploration of spiritual and religious values, or through the investigation of a social justice issue. All courses will include at least an introduction to the study of the specific moral or spiritual principles on which value judgments or decisions to act are made about the central issue of the course.The student will begin to successfully discern, understand, and ultimately incorporate into his or her own life, answers to the following questions:

    1. How does one formulate a reasonable and coherent set of moral values?
    2. What are the methods for identifying specific moral and factual assumptions underlying a given moral controversy?
    3. Are there moral principles which have received cross-cultural affirmation?
    4. How does one connect moral reflection to action?
    5. What constitutes a philosophy of life and world view? How does one formulate satisfactory versions of a philosophy of life and a world view?
      .
  4. Humanity in the Physical Universe (AH) (3-4 cr.)
    Students will ask questions about how the natural sciences provide a powerful means to understand and shape the world. Courses which are used to fulfill this requirement will address multiple dimensions of the material universe and help the student achieve levels of competency and capacity in the elements of “scientific literacy” on both the theoretical and applied (i.e., research experience) levels. Students will be given the chance to help design experiments to demonstrate the principles on which science is based. Courses which are used to fulfill this requirement will presuppose familiarity with quantitative reasoning, methods of analysis, and other skills achieved within the prerequisite general education mathematics courses.The student will begin to address the following questions and topics:

    1. What is the scientific method? What is the role of experiments in analyzing nature?
    2. What is the nature and role of truth, evidence, and proof in science?
    3. What are the connections among the sciences, and between the sciences and mathematics?
    4. How can science be used to place important public issues in context?
      .
  5. Identity and Community (AI) (3 cr.)
    Students will ask questions about how human identity is formed. Courses which are used to fulfill this requirement will address the individual in relation to self and society. Students will explore dimensions of human development and interaction in order to understand how the individual and society interact to construct personal identity. Students will become aware of how they could use that knowledge to take a more purposeful and active approach toward their own interaction with the larger community.The student will begin to address the following sorts of questions and topics:

    1. What does it mean to be human?
    2. What is the nature of the self?
    3. How do humans, precisely as social and psychological beings, create their identity through everyday interactions with other people and institutions?
    4. How do humans create their identity through self-expression?
    5. How do situational variables and social conventions shape human behavior?

PORTFOLIO (PJ)
After completing the majority of required general education courses and courses in their majors, Loras students will reflect on how they have developed the dispositions and skills necessary to continue or complete a program of liberal learning. To support their claims, each student will create and circulate an electronic portfolio as either a stand-alone course or as part of the capstone or culminating requirement in the major. The College will review these portfolios and use them to assess the extent to which students meet the specific goals of its general education curriculum.

In their portfolios, students will reflect on artifacts collected from their general education courses and other educational experiences to demonstrate progress toward liberal learning objectives.

The portfolios should demonstrate:

  1. That students understand the dispositions desired of a Loras-educated person
  2. That they have collected a body of significant work that reveals their ability to communicate and think
  3. That they have organized that body of work as evidence to support the claim that they have progressed toward the desired dispositions
  4. That they have integrated their involvement in general education and major courses, experiential learning (if taken), and co-curricular activities to produce an electronic document that is accessible to a community of readers and evaluators to include faculty, potential employers, graduate schools, and other studentsPrerequisite: Completion of three of the five advanced general education courses.

For more information on advanced general education courses see the Undergraduate Bulletin

JANUARY TERM

January Term

  • 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.

Explore January Term Options

EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING

Experiential Learning
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.

Explore Experiential Learning