SOURCE: Selected passages from the motion on the General Education Program for the 1995 curriculum, as approved by the faculty March 29, 1994 and subsequently revised in 1996, 2000, 2002 (writing goal and community service), and 2003.
INSTITUTIONAL ASSUMPTIONS: All candidates for the bachelor’s degree must complete 130 semester hours to earn their degree. No more than two of these hours may be earned in physical activity courses.
PROGRAMMATIC ASSUMPTIONS: Principles that should apply to course approval and course selection (see preceding section “Approval for General Education Offerings”):
1. Except as otherwise noted (e.g., Non-Western Cultures, writing-intensive and mathematics-intensive courses), a course should be approved to meet only one general education requirement.
2. Courses that meet the Non-Western Cultures requirement may instead meet one other requirement (e.g., Chinese religion may meet either the Non-Western Cultures requirement or the Religious and Philosophical Inquiry requirement but not both). Each student shall indicate which requirement the course meets at registration, and it shall be reported as such unless and until a student petition to change that designation is approved.
3. The key test for a course proposed to meet a requirement is that it meets the relevant goal(s) and definition(s).
4. To address adequately the scope of general education learning goals, most general education courses should bear at least four semester hours of credit. Exceptions to this rule may be permitted in credit-bearing performance or production courses approved to satisfy the Fine, Performing, and Literary Arts requirements and in physical activity courses approved to meet the Physical Activity requirement.
5. Most students will take eight courses of 4-5 semester hours each for requirements R-8 through R-12 (Natural World; Social Institutions, Processes & Behavior; the Fine, Performing and Literary Arts; Religious & Philosophical Inquiry; and Western Historical Perspectives). In doing so, the student must choose courses from eight different departments and programs. In cases where the student takes coursework in more than two departments to fulfill an 8 semester hour requirement (as is possible in the arts category), the student must still take courses from six other departments for the remaining six courses (or 24 semester hours).
GOAL: A student should achieve a level of competency in writing that provides the necessary foundation for subsequent college work and further learning and should also strengthen writing with continued practice.
REQUIREMENTS: R-1. ENGL 101 during the first two semesters and earning a grade of C- or S, unless exempted by demonstrating writing competency through national tests, as certified by the Department of English. ENGL 101 should include some library work and utilize computers for word processing.
Requirement: R-2. Demonstrate continuing proficiency in writing. All students are required to demonstrate successfully their writing proficiency in seven courses designated as writing-intensive, at least two of which must be taken as part of the student’s major. Failure to demonstrate such proficiency will result in no credit for writing proficiency in that course. A student may earn graduation credit for the course even if writing proficiency is not demonstrated, but the student may not graduate until successful writing proficiency is evinced in seven writing intensive courses. Writing intensive courses may be used to meet other general education learning goals. Writing-intensive courses are designated with a W or Z in the section number throughout the master schedule of classes published each semester by the Registrar’s Office.
Students exempting ENGL 101 would take another writing-intensive course in its stead. It is recommended that all writing-intensive courses (especially Common learning) interconnect more explicitly with ENGL 101, e.g., utilizing the ENGL 101 handbook and a more campus-wide terminology for talking about writing, with the obvious allowances for disciplinary differences.
DEFINITIONS: ENGL 101 should introduce students to basic forms and conventions of college writing, provide the opportunity for frequent practice in writing and revising, and help students explore various stages of the writing process from planning to proofreading. It also should include exposure to word processing and to the library.
In ENGL 101 students should learn to: 1) develop ideas thoroughly; 2) use rhetorical strategies appropriate to subject and audience; 3) focus a thesis, develop a valid argument, and support both with appropriate evidence; 4) structure an essay by means of developed and coherent paragraphs; 5) generate mature and effective sentences, choose precise and expressive language; 6) observe the conventions of written prose; 7) summarize, quote, and document sources; and 8) synthesize the ideas or words of others into their own arguments.
DEFINITIONS: WRITING INTENSIVE COURSES
(Clarification of wording September 2005)
A writing-intensive course includes writing as an integral part of teaching and learning, with class time devoted to the discussion of the writing process and assignments designed to reinforce and develop writing skills. Students in these classes are encouraged to generate preliminary writing (e.g. brainstorming, outlines, early drafts) and are given direction and/or feedback in the process of developing assignments. Students complete a minimum of 4,000 words in final draft form. This word count serves as a general indicator of the importance of writing in the course and must be balanced by the other qualitative criteria of writing intensive classes.
GOAL: A student should achieve a level of competence in mathematics that provides the necessary foundation for subsequent college learning and should also strengthen problem-solving and reasoning skills through continued use.
REQUIREMENTS: R-4. At least four semester hours during the first three semesters in mathematics, statistics, or computer science that meet the foundational mathematics goal. Competency is demonstrated by earning a grade of C- or S in an approved course (designated as a Q course) or by exemption as certified by the Department of Mathematics & Computer Science.
R-5. One additional course, from anywhere in the curriculum, that relies on mathematical reasoning and problem-solving as a regular and integral part of the learning experience (designated by an M for mathematical reasoning-intensive). This course may count toward another requirement.
DEFINITIONS: Competency — Mathematics competency corresponds to C- level or better mastery of foundational skills. Courses designed to help students attain competence would provide frequent exposure to problems that may be solved by a variety of mathematical techniques developed in the course. Students may also demonstrate competency by examination.
Mathematical reasoning — Problem-solving and analytical thinking characterized by the use of mathematical abstraction, skills, and concepts. Mathematical skills include, but are not limited to, statistical, geometric, and probability analyses, computation, algebraic manipulation, differentiation, and integration.
Mathematics-intensive — A mathematics-intensive course strengthens learning through regular and integral use of numbers and mathematical reasoning. Some potential examples include: all math courses; some courses in art, business, education, philosophy (symbolic logic), stage lighting or scene design; many natural science, computer science, and social science courses.
GOAL: A student should achieve the degree of competence in a foreign language necessary to encounter another culture on its own terms and to enhance understanding of the structure of language itself.
REQUIREMENT: R-6. A language 112 course, or its equivalent, during the first four semesters and earning a grade of C- or S, unless exempted through a competency test. (Please note: Students who take language courses at other institutions should take the competency examination at Wittenberg as soon as possible after completing the course at the other institution. Students who desire to fulfill the competency requirement in a language not taught at Wittenberg must consult with the chair of the Department of Foreign Languages & Literatures and arrange to demonstrate competency by achieving a predetermined score on a standardized examination or another acceptable means of evaluation.)
DEFINITIONS: The requirement allows students to forego course work by exercising the option of taking and passing a competency examination. By passing either the competency examination or LANG 112, or its equivalent, with a grade of C- or better, students would demonstrate that they had met the standards set forth by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages for 600 hours of instruction at the secondary school level.
These students would be able to: 1) handle successfully basic communicative tasks and social situations; 2) sustain conversation on familiar topics; 3) express preferences and opinions about familiar topics orally and in writing; 4) narrate orally and in writing present, past, and future events in areas of personal interest; 5) understand main ideas and some details of connected discourse on a number of familiar topics pertaining to different times and places; 6) interpret relevant details and sequences of events; 7) comprehend most speech on familiar topics by requesting repetition and recombination of material that is not immediately understood; 8) understand the main idea and most details of authentic texts in areas of high interest; 9) understand the main idea from narration and description; 10) meet a number of practical writing needs in notes, short letters, and journals; 11) take notes on oral or written discourse dealing with familiar topics; 12) handle some routine social situations successfully in the culture; and 13) demonstrate an awareness of the geography, history, and political contributions of the target culture.
By successful completion of a placement examination, students with prior preparation in a language may enroll in a language 112 course, or its equivalent.
GOAL: A student should be able to speak effectively within and before groups.
REQUIREMENT: No specific course is required. The development of speaking skills should be included in Common Learning and other courses, while accomplishment of the goal in full is a responsibility of each major program and, as such, must be certified by the major department/program for graduation. (See “General Education and the Major” below).
GOAL: A student should be able to use the library to acquire information and to explore ideas and should understand the role of technology in the collection, analysis, and dissemination of information.
REQUIREMENT: No specific course requirement. Some limited exposure to the appropriate information technology and to the library should be provided in ENGL 101 and Common Learning. Accomplishment of the goal in full is the responsibility of each major program, and, as such, must be certified by the major department/program for graduation. (See “General Education and the Major” below).
GOAL: A student should be able to use a computer to help perform a variety of learning activities and should understand the power and limits of computing.
REQUIREMENT: No specific course requirement. Students will meet this computing goal through specified elements of some general education courses and through their major program, and, as such, must be certified by the major department/program for graduation. (See “General Education and the Major” below).
DEFINITIONS: Computing — using computers to help create and edit documents; communicate, analyze, and visualize information with spreadsheets; solve problems by numerical models and simulations; express artistic creativity; and collect and disseminate information, for example.
ARTS & SCIENCES GOALS
THE DIVERSITY OF HUMAN EXPERIENCE
GOAL: A student should gain an appreciation and understanding of the role of human diversity in contemporary culture.
REQUIREMENT: Courses counting toward the Arts & Sciences requirements (R7-R13) should address this goal, in ways, and to the degree, appropriate to the content and pedagogy of each individual course. This goal also should be addressed in the major, in a manner appropriate to the field.
DEFINITION: The readiness with which this goal can be addressed, as well the ways this goal can be addressed, will vary markedly from discipline to discipline and from course to course. Consequently, the key criterion for determining that a course meets this goal should be the instructor’s stated intention to address the goal in ways the instructor deems appropriate to the course.
N.B.: As of 2004-2005, the following requirement and definitions will fulfill the Integrated Learning goal:
GOAL: A student should gain an understanding of connections between differing modes of inquiry, experience learning as a shared enterprise, and see the relationships between the world of learning and their lives.
REQUIREMENT: R-7. A Wittenberg Seminar during the first semester for all entering students.
DEFINITIONS: The Wittenberg Seminars (4 semester hours) or Witt Sems are small, independent, topical seminars designed by individual instructors or teams of instructors based on their intellectual pursuits and training. Each Witt Sem will meet the following three objectives, although the means of achieving these objectives will necessarily vary by section and topics: 1) students understand the importance and practices of academic critical thinking; 2) students become intellectually and personally engaged in the seminar topic and in academic inquiry more generally; and 3) students be equipped to make a successful transition to the academic and co-curricular demands of their new campus community. Topics for Witt Sems will vary from instructor to instructor, but all Witt Sems will: 1) integrate instruction on targeted high school to college transition issues with course content; 2) be either writing or math-intensive; and 3) meet for the first time during New Student Days.
THE NATURAL WORLD
GOAL: A student should gain an understanding of the natural world through scientific inquiry and see the relations among science, technology, and contemporary culture.
REQUIREMENT: R-8. At least eight semester hours in courses that meet the Natural World goal, one of which must include laboratory experience.
DEFINITIONS: The natural science courses which will meet this requirement normally will come from the Departments of Biology, Chemistry, Geology, Physics, and Psychology. A laboratory experience actively involves students in the observation, collection, and/or analysis of data using the methodologies of the natural sciences. This can occur in diverse settings, including traditional laboratory settings and field work. A minimum of 20 hours of lab experience is required. Some courses may be designed that intentionally blur the traditional distinction between “lecture” and “lab” and this 20-hour minimum must be judged appropriately for these settings.
The process of seeing “the relation between science, technology, and contemporary culture” generally involves an examination of a scientific issue that has social, economic, political, or ethical aspects that need to be examined in order to develop some satisfactory understanding of the complexity of the issue. Such study should be an integral and regular part of the learning experience in both courses.
SOCIAL INSTITUTIONS, PROCESSES & BEHAVIOR
GOAL: A student should achieve, through empirical and analytical methods, an understanding of human behavior, relationships, or institutions.
REQUIREMENT: R-9. At least eight semester hours in courses that meet the Social Institutions, Processes and Behavior goal.
DEFINITIONS: This requirement emphasizes the contribution of social scientific approaches to understanding human behavior, human interaction with public and private institutions of all sizes, and the processes through which this interaction is channeled or directed. The social sciences will be the primary source of courses to meet this goal, although courses from other disciplines that have adopted social scientific methodologies and that address some aspect of “human behavior, relationships, and institutions” can be considered (e.g., courses in History, Education, and Business). The emphasis on empirical and analytical methods addresses the way of knowing that characterizes the social sciences. What distinguishes social science from the humanistic approach to a given object of study is precisely the methodology; at the heart of the social sciences is the empirical approach to the acquisition of knowledge, and any course that counts toward this requirement must teach the student how knowledge is acquired. Appropriate courses need not be “methods” courses per se, and social science courses which critically examine method and even challenge the dominant methodology are by no means excluded.
FINE, PERFORMING & LITERARY ARTS
GOAL: A student should gain an understanding of aesthetic experience and of how the arts enrich and express the human spirit.
REQUIREMENT: R-10. At least eight semester hours in the creation, study, or performance of dance, literature, music, theatre, and/or the visual arts. Students should have the option of counting credit-bearing performance or production experiences that meet the goal. E.g., such a course must include self-awareness and study of the relationship between the performer/artist and the audience, etc. Currently up to four semester credits of performance or production experiences may count toward the requirements of the B. A. degree.
DEFINITIONS: Creative writing courses would be appropriate for this requirement.
RELIGIOUS & PHILOSOPHICAL INQUIRY
GOAL: A student should gain an understanding of how central questions of reality, knowledge, and value are pursued in religious and/or philosophical traditions.
REQUIREMENT: R-11. Four semester hours in religion or philosophy that satisfies the goal.
DEFINITIONS: “Central questions” refers to such questions as: What can we know? How should we live? For what may we hope? What exists? “Religious and/or philosophical traditions” refers to the larger body of religious/philosophical literature and knowledge associated with the subject of the course.
WESTERN HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES
GOAL: A student should gain an understanding of the histories of the peoples and cultures of Europe and/or of the post-Columbian Americas.
REQUIREMENTS: R-12. At least four semester hours that meet the western historical perspectives goal.
DEFINITION: The course should provide an introduction to major ideas and developments and to the great variety of groups and cultures (e.g. women, different religious traditions, minorities, etc.) that shaped and were shaped by what is commonly understood as the Western tradition.
GOAL: A student should gain an understanding of the diversity of non-Western cultures through a study of the history, institutions, or traditions of one or more of these cultures.
REQUIREMENT: R-13. At least four semester hours devoted to the study of a culture or cultures outside the Western tradition, in accordance with our goal.
DEFINITIONS: This requirement includes courses, taught in any discipline, which focus on the history, institutions, ideas, culture, or traditions of a non-Western culture. Courses may concentrate on any time period, past or present, and on any non-Western geographical region. Courses on cultures other than those of Europe and the modern Americas would be included in this area, while a course such as modern African-American history would be more appropriate in the Western Historical Perspectives category.
CO-CURRICULAR ACTIVITY GOALS
GOAL: Students should gain an appreciation of the relation between physical activity and personal well-being by participating in appropriate physical activities consistent with the student’s physical ability.
REQUIREMENT: R-14. Students should gain an appreciation of the relation between physical activity and personal well-being by participating in appropriate physical activities consistent with the student's physical ability.
DEFINITIONS: Activities refer only to those that include instruction on the relation between physical activity and personal well-being. One semester hour should correspond to thirty contact hours.
GOAL: A student should gain an understanding of the role, responsibility, and challenge of service in community life through participation, experience, and reflection.
REQUIREMENT: R-15. Successful completion of the course Community Service 100 (0 credit): Thirty hours of community service, which includes three hours of reflection on the experience, as arranged through the Community Workshop and completed during any semester of the student’s first three years.
DEFINITIONS: Normally this activity will contribute to the Springfield community with participation occurring during a semester when the student is resident on campus. No academic credit (i.e., semester hours) will be awarded for this service. The Community Service requirement should continue to be governed by the community service guidelines created by faculty actions of 1989 and revised in 1993 and 2000.
SUMMARIES: THE GENERAL EDUCATION PROGRAM
GENERAL EDUCATION & THE MAJOR
The major at Wittenberg needs to be understood as a vital portion of general education for three reasons: a major offers the best opportunity for study in depth; some general education learning goals are best met in the coursework found in the major; and the major department/program is often in the best position to evaluate the student’s achievement of these learning goals. Recognition of this important principle is the reason behind these following recommendations, all alluded to earlier:
1. that at least two of the student’s writing-intensive courses must be taken in the major;
2. that departments and interdepartmental programs must include in their major programs plans for enabling students to achieve the Speaking goal, the Research goal, and the Computing goal in a manner appropriate to the field. Such plans should be approved by the faculty but the department or program would certify the individual student’s achievement of the goals;
3. that departments and interdepartmental programs will include in their major programs a means of enabling students to meet the Diversity of Human Experience goal.
CODES: NUMBERING OF REQUIREMENTS
The General Education Program numbers selected requirements as follows:
- R 1 ENGL 101, or equivalent experiences
- R 2 Seven writing-intensive courses
- R 4 Competency in mathematics
- R 5 Mathematical-reasoning course
- R 6 Foreign language competency
- R 7 Common Learning 100, or other Integrated Learning course
- R 8 Eight semester credits, Natural World goal, including a laboratory experience
- R 9 Eight semester credits, Social Institutions, Processes & Behavior goal
- R10 Eight semester hours, Fine, Performing & Literary Arts goal
- R11 Four semester hours, Religious & Philosophical Inquiry goal
- R12 Four semester hours, Western Historical Perspectives goal
- R13 Four semester hours, Non-Western Cultures goal
- R14 Two semester hours, Physical Activity goal
- R15 Community Service goal
CODES: APPROVED COURSES BY LETTER
- Approved courses or curricular experiences taken to meet General Education Program goals carry one or more letter codes, suffixes to the course number or section number, as follows:
- A Fine, Performing & Literary courses
- B Natural World courses, with laboratory experience
- C Non-Western Cultures courses
- E ENGL 101
- F Foreign language 112 courses, or equivalent
- H Western Historical Perspectives courses
- L Common Learning 100, or other Integrated Learning courses
- M Mathematical-reasoning intensive courses
- N Natural World courses, without laboratory experience
- P Physical Activity courses
- Q Mathematics competency courses
- R Religious & Philosophical Inquiry courses
- S Social Institutions, Processes & Behavior courses
- W Writing-intensive courses
- Z Courses which are both writing-intensive and mathematical-reasoning intensive.