Goals & Objectives

Introduction

The guidelines that follow reflect the thinking of the Guidelines Committee and have been approved by the Liberal Education Committee. They are based on the following two premises:

Premise #1: We have approved a curriculum that reflects the ideals and mission of Whittier College.

Statement of Goals:

Two practices are central to the Liberal Education Program: critical thinking (the development of the skills and methods necessary for systematic investigation--i.e. the ability to define, analyze, and synthesize using a variety of methods and technologies) and the practical application of knowledge. These practices, together with the objectives underlying the curricular framework, ensure students' awareness of their own intellectual, physical, moral, and cultural development. Specifically our learning goals are:

I. Students should develop the ability to make connections across disciplines in order to understand the convergence and divergence of different fields of knowledge and to understand the nature of an academic community.

II. Students should develop an understanding of, and competency in, the use of signs and symbols to construct, create, perceive, and communicate meaning.

III. Students should develop the capacity to entertain multiple perspectives and interpretations.

IV. Students should develop an understanding of culture and of the connections between themselves and others in relation to physical, historical, social, and global contexts.

V. Students should develop breadth, defined as familiarity with essential concepts in major fields, and depth, defined as knowledge of at least one field (usually achieved in the major).

Each course identified as fulfilling a liberal education requirement should be structured to enable students to achieve at least part of one of the five goals. We should begin to articulate the goals of a Whittier education as soon as students arrive at the College, and continue to reinforce them over the next four years, so that when students are ready to graduate they can say with assurance that these are some of the most important things they have gained from their Whittier College education.

Premise #2: Whittier College is an academic, collaborative community in which individuals are accountable for their ideas and actions, both to each other and to the world beyond the Whittier College campus.

Careful tracking of the degree to which our educational goals are being attained is one important way faculty can model accountability, while refining and improving our ability to help students attain the education we want them to have. The guidelines committee was intentional in attempting to articulate clearly defined goals that can be systematically measured. Although it is true that this kind of assessment is important to funding organizations and accrediting organizations, it also should be internally important if we value the goals we have approved.

General Guidelines:

  1. Because the Liberal Education Program is central to learning at Whittier College, most courses fulfilling liberal education requirements should be taught by faculty with full time appointments (with a goal of three-quarters of these courses).
  2. Critical thinking and the practical application of knowledge are central to the transformative experience that defines a Whittier College education. Faculty teaching courses that fulfill liberal education requirements are encouraged to use active learning through discussions, simulations, small group activities, field trips, and other forms of collaborative learning or praxis wherever appropriate. In order to support such teaching, these courses should be limited to 30 students per course.
  3. Courses that meet the guidelines for more than one category may satisfy requirements for each of those categories concurrently. Courses used to satisfy liberal education requirements may also be used to satisfy requirements in other areas such as majors, minors, and credential programs.
  4. The Liberal Education Committee will oversee the program. In monitoring the program, if the committee finds that institutional constraints or new visions of the curriculum suggest the need to rethink these guidelines, it will bring these issues to the faculty for its consideration and approval.
  5. The Liberal Education Committee, in consultation with the Assessment Committee, will coordinate with faculty the identification of measurements and rubrics appropriate for evaluation of student learning and goal achievement for each requirement. The goal is that all courses satisfying a single liberal education requirement will use a standard instrument(s) for assessment, which may be embedded in course assignments. Such measures could include direct measurements, rubrics, pre- and post tests, snapshots (like those used in the Writing Program), portfolio entries, etc. The identification of assessment instruments and rubrics may be phased in requirement by requirement beginning with the first year, more quickly through stipend-supported workshops, or some combination thereof.
  6. Courses approved to satisfy the Liberal Education Program should clearly identify the goals (see I through V above) in the syllabus. The following framework and table provide a basic idea of the requirements that meet the five goals of a Whittier College education. Obviously, some courses will meet more than one goal and fulfill more than one requirement. (See guideline number 3 above.)

Framework and Requirements

The Liberal Education Program consists of the following requirements (which together with elective courses must total at least 120 credits required for graduation):

  • Core Framework: Students must complete the requirements contained in the framework, including INTD 100.
  • Depth: Students must complete a major.
  • Breadth: As part of the 120 credits required for graduation, students must take at least six credits from each division (Natural Science, Social Science and Humanities/Fine Arts). In each division, courses must be taken in least two departments.

The long-term Core Framework, in which many of the learning goals are met, consists of the following core elements:

  • Community: 6 credits of coursework that meet goals of building academic community (I), using signs and symbols (II), entertaining multiple perspectives (III), understanding convergence and divergence of knowledge (I) and essential concepts in different fields (V).
  • Communication: 9 credits of coursework that meet our goals using signs and symbols (II), and understanding essential concepts in major fields (V).
  • Cultural Perspectives: 12 credits of coursework that meet our goals of using signs and symbols (II), entertaining multiple perspectives (III), understanding of self and others in relation to physical, historical, cultural, and global contexts (IV), and understanding essential concepts in major fields (V).
  • Connections: 10 credits of coursework that meet our goals of critical thinking (I), entertaining multiple perspectives (II), understanding the convergence and divergence of knowledge (V), and understanding of self and others in relation to physical, historical, cultural, and global contexts (IV).

This core framework will contain the following required coursework:

Community (6 credits)

  1. Freshman Writing Seminar linked with another course. (Fall, Freshman Year, 6 credits).

Communication (9 credits)

  1. Quantitative Literacy (3 credits).
  2. Writing Intensive Course (3 credits).
  3. Creative and Performing Arts (2 credits).
  4. Senior Presentation (1 credit).

Cultural perspectives (12 credits)

One course each from four of the following seven areas:

  1. African
  2. Asian
  3. Latin American
  4. North American
  5. European
  6. Cross-Cultural
  7. Foreign Languages

Connections (10 credits)

  1. Two Paired courses or a sequence or set of two team-taught courses (6 credits).
  2. A course that integrates scientific and mathematical methods and ideas with analysis of cultural or societal issues (4 credits).

Community I. Students should develop the ability to make connections across disciplines in order to understand the convergence and divergence of different fields of knowledge and to understand the nature of an academic community.

Community II. Students should develop the ability to make connections across disciplines in order to understand the convergence and divergence of different fields of knowledge and to understand the nature of an academic community

Students should develop the capacity to entertain multiple perspectives and interpretations.

Communications I-IV. Students should develop an understanding of, and competency in, the use of signs and symbols to construct, create, perceive, and communicate meaning.

Communications IV. Students should develop breadth, defined as familiarity with essential concepts in major fields, and depth, defined as knowledge of at least one field (usually achieved in the major).

Cultural Perspectives. Students should develop the capacity to entertain multiple perspectives and interpretations.

Students should develop an understanding of culture and of the connections between themselves and others in relation to physical, historical, social, and global contexts.

Connections I and II. Students should develop the ability to make connections across disciplines in order to understand the convergence and divergence of different fields of knowledge and to understand the nature of an academic community

Students should develop the capacity to entertain multiple perspectives and interpretations.


Requirement Guidelines

Community (6 credits)

1. Community I (fall linked courses; 6 credits)

Goals:

Students should develop the ability to make connections across disciplines in order to understand the convergence and divergence of different fields of knowledge and to understand the nature of an academic community (I).

Students should develop an understanding of, and competency in, the use of signs and symbols to construct, create, perceive, and communicate meaning (II).

Students should develop the capacity to entertain multiple perspectives and interpretations (III).

Philosophy:

Whittier College has been described as a meeting place that brings together people, ideas, traditions, and experiences that have not connected before, resulting in a sense of community. Community among college students fosters social well-being and academic enrichment. Two sets of linked courses taken in the freshman year serve as important elements in Whittier College's broader array of community-building strategies. In a linked set of courses, students enrolled in one course are simultaneously enrolled in another associated course, encouraging formation of both intellectual and interpersonal bonds. New insights rise out of this linking: new knowledge, new questions, and new possibilities.

The two linked sets are developmental in nature. In the first semester, the primary purpose of the link is for each student to develop intellectual and social relationships with a defined set of peers through common enrollment in two classes. The spring semester link continues these purposes but intensifies the intellectual dimension. This link consists of two courses with some level of thematic connection designed to promote awareness and understanding of relationships across disciplines. Examining a theme from the standpoint of two different disciplines introduces the intellectually rich notion of multiple perspectives--a concept important to the collaborative community that defines Whittier College.

Social well-being and intellectual engagement and growth are enhanced by giving each student places of belonging within the campus community. Every first-year student should have such a place within the academic and intellectual community that is Whittier College. Linked courses contribute to this purpose.

Objectives:

  1. To increase student engagement in the community as a whole (academic, student life, co-curricular activities).
  2. To improve student ability in using signs and symbols, specifically writing skills.
  3. To initiate student ability to make connections across disciplines, demonstrating a beginning understanding of the convergence and divergence of knowledge.

Outcomes:

  1. Increased retention (fall and spring semesters).
  2. Students' positive report of engagement in the community (fall and spring semesters).
  3. Students' demonstration of improved writing skills (fall semester).
  4. Students' demonstration of initial ability to make connections across disciplines and to understand the convergence and divergence of knowledge (spring semester).

Guidelines:

These linked sets of courses are called Community I and consist of two courses of 3 or more credits. All Community courses should be suitable for freshmen, typically at the introductory level. The following sets of guidelines specify the parameters within which each link should be formed.

Community I (fall)

Key Objective:

To develop community in a cohort of fifteen students through co-enrollment in two classes, while developing the writing skills necessary for success in college.

Guidelines for Community I Link:

  1. One of the two associated courses will be INTD 100.
  2. The second course can be any introductory course suitable for entering freshmen.
  3. The course with which INTD 100 is linked may include students not in the link.
  4. Links may be, but do not have to be, inter-divisional.
  5. Links may be, but do not have to be, inter-departmental.
  6. Conceivably, both courses in this link could be taught by the same person.
  7. In rare instances, students may transfer during the add-drop period from one set of linked courses to another; but they must remain enrolled in a linked set.

Guidelines for INTD 100 Courses:

  1. While each seminar will require at least three formal essays, the maximum number will be at the discretion of the instructor. The number of assignments is generally less important than developing the habit of thorough and careful revision. The formal essays should be prompted by detailed descriptions of the writing assignment and should include extensive revision.
  2. Essays and exercises should be designed to improve critical reading and thinking. Exercises will focus on such skills as summarizing and paraphrasing, documenting sources, and using strategies of analysis, argument, description, and narration.
  3. Students will learn to correct surface errors through assigned exercises.
  4. Students will learn to think of writing as a process including multiple revisions of writing assignments. Revision depends upon explanatory feed-back from the instructor. Although peer review is valuable, it is not a substitute for detailed written guidelines and feed-back from the instructor.
  5. Students will write a final paper of substantial length, approximately six to eight pages, involving analysis, synthesis, and revision.

Communication (9 credits)

Goal:

Students should develop an understanding of, and competency in, the use of signs and symbols to construct, create, perceive, and communicate meaning (II).

  1. Quantitative Literacy (3 credits)
  2. Writing Intensive Course (3 credits)
  3. Creative and Performing Arts (2 credits)
  4. Senior Presentation (1 credit)

Communication I (Quantitative Literacy)

Philosophy:

The Communication I requirement should not be confused with an explicit Mathematics requirement.  According to the National Council on Education, quantitative literacy, also known as numeracy, is

not so much about understanding abstract concepts as about applying elementary tools in sophisticated settings. . . . [N]umeracy and mathematics should be complementary aspects of the school curriculum. . . . Mathematics thrived as a discipline and as a school subject because it was (and still is) the tool par excellence for comprehending ideas of the scientific age.  Numeracy will thrive similarly because it is the natural tool for comprehending information in the computer age.  As variables and equations created the mathematical language of science, so digital data are creating a new language of information technology. Numeracy embodies the capacity to communicate in this new language.[Lynn Arthur Steen, ed.  Mathematics and Democracy: The Case for Quantitative Literacy (National Council on Education and the Disciplines), http://www.maa.org/ql/mathanddemocracy.html.]

The focus of the Communication I requirement is on the application of quantitative skills to diverse fields of inquiry at the college level.  Any course that satisfies this requirement should give the student an opportunity to use numerical tools to (a) analyze problems and/or situations, and (b) communicate the results of that analysis.  Whenever possible, students should have the opportunity to satisfy this requirement by applying their quantitative skills in a course related to their academic interests.

Objectives and Outcomes:

According to a report by a Mathematics Association of America committee,

The level of sophistication and maturity of thinking expected of a college student should extend to a capability for quantitative reasoning which is commensurate with the college experience.  College students should be expected to go beyond routine problem solving to handle problem situations of greater complexity and diversity, and to connect ideas and procedures more readily with other topics both within and outside mathematics.[Quantitative Reasoning for College Graduates (Report of an MAA Committee), http://www.maa.org/past/ql/ql toc.html.]

The MAA committee has made a list of desirable quantitative skills for college graduates: a quantitatively literate college graduate should be able to

  1. Interpret mathematical models such as formulas, graphs, tables, and schematics, and draw inferences from them.
  2. Represent mathematical information symbolically, visually, numerically, and verbally.
  3. Use arithmetical, algebraic, geometric and statistical methods to solve problems.
  4. Estimate and check answers to mathematical problems in order to determine reasonableness, identify alternatives, and select optimal results.
  5. Recognize that mathematical and statistical methods have some limitations.

Guidelines:

  1. Communication I courses should offer quantitative reasoning skills in one or more disciplinary context.  They should emphasize the importance of the quantitative subject matter to at least one other discipline, and should develop students' written and oral communication skills in the language of mathematics.
  2. A course qualifies as a Communication I course if the quantitative reasoning and mathematical methodologies are integral to the course content, and are offered in a context that is "natural" to the subject throughout the semester.  The integrated part of the course, which contains the math incorporated within the subject matter, must exceed two thirds of the material covered.  A course that is somewhat quantitative cannot become a Communication I course simply by increasing the number of quantitative assignments.
  3. The course syllabus for all Communication I courses should outline specific outcomes that students will achieve in quantitative literacy after taking the course.  The course is intended to improve students' quantitative skills materially, beyond the basic level of mathematical proficiency expected of all high school students.
  4. To promote active and interactive student learning and to facilitate the use of computers and other technology in the classroom, the course should enroll no more than thirty students.
  5. The course must be a college-level experience in the application of quantitative skills, not a remedial math experience.  This implies that more than mere computation and data crunching will be expected of students.  Students must be required to think about the meaning of numerical results and to draw conclusions from them. They must learn to discern implications inherent in the results.

Implicit in all of the above is the assumption that students already have achieved a certain level of mathematical proficiency (basic arithmetic, algebra, geometry and, perhaps, statistics). Students will demonstrate this proficiency by taking a placement exam at the start of the semester they enter the college.  Students who are not prepared for the level of work expected in Communications I courses will be required to take a preparatory course as a pre-requisite to any Communications I offering.  (Examples of such a course include Math 74, Transition to College Mathematics, and Math 76, College Algebra.)

Communication II (Writing Intensive Course)

Goal:

Students should develop an understanding of, and competency in, the use of signs and symbols to construct, create, perceive, and communicate meaning (II).

Guidelines:

  1. Courses satisfying the Communication II requirement must be taken after the successful completion of INTD 100, and should be completed by the end of the first semester of the sophomore year. Therefore, courses meeting this requirement should be lower-division. The Communication II course may be taken within or outside the major, and may simultaneously satisfy other liberal education requirements.
  2. In order to accomplish the desired goal of continuing the emphasis on writing instruction through a second semester course, courses satisfying the Communication II requirement must include several papers, at least one of which is rewritten after substantial evaluation by the instructor.
  3. In order to continue to emphasize the importance of applying information and interpretations gleaned from research or textual analysis, at least one longer paper should be assigned. Rather than simply cataloguing information, research papers should emphasize using information and interpretations in presenting a case or argument; those emphasizing textual analysis should involve some degree of comparison, analysis, or synthesis of ideas presented in the various sources.
  4. To allow the instructor time for careful evaluation and emphasis on structured rewriting of papers, enrollment in courses satisfying the Communication II requirement should not exceed twenty-five students.

Communication III (Creative Arts)

Goal:

Students should develop an understanding of, and competency in, the use of signs and symbols to construct, create, perceive, and communicate meaning (II).

Philosophy:

The creative arts are fundamental avenues of expression and modes of communication. Music, theater, visual art, and creative writing abound in virtually all cultures--revealing fashion, sensibilities and substantive concerns--and communicate across cultural divides. Artworks reflect the creator's insights into questions, problems, and ideas. Motivation to create comes from many sources: addressing spatial and structural challenges; telling a story; communicating a social, political or commercial message; revealing perceptions of self, the human condition, or the depths of the psyche.

We believe that creative experience in one or more of the arts offered at Whittier is enriching and essential. This general sector of coursework provides students with challenges and opportunities similar to those encountered in other types of intellectual pursuits: researching and analyzing; composing, revising, refining and presenting; hypothesizing and testing. However, a number of qualities distinguish creative endeavors from most other components of the curriculum:

  • They depend significantly upon judgments, sometimes in the absence of rules;
  • They foster awareness that all problems can be addressed by many solutions;
  • They have flexible aims, allowing us to respond to surprises, which in turn often lead to unexpected destinations;
  • Often, as in visual art and music, they allow thinking and expression not confined by the limits imposed by words and numbers; and
  • They help people discover the strong emotional dimension to creating; through the creative process and enjoyment of creative work, we discover and reinforce our ability to feel.

The importance of creativity is reflected in Albert Einstein’s comment that "creativity is more important than knowledge." Communication III develops students' creative capacities, which can at the same time improve their thinking skills and comprehension of their surroundings--leading to an enriched life. Through creative engagement a student becomes a more complete person, more alive.

Outcomes:

  1. Skill development--technical accomplishment in some mode of creative work.
  2. Artistic application of acquired skills through the successful creation of an artistic product. (Students will have created one or more creative works, whether alone or collaboratively.)
  3. Successful communication through creative expression. (Students will have presented work to an audience, which can include classmates, and has received critical feedback on that work.)
  4. Enhanced appreciation of the creative process. (If not already well acquainted with creative processes, students will begin to understand that anyone can be creative and that creative activities can be rewarding and enriching to all people.)

Guidelines:

  1. The Communications III requirement can be fulfilled by taking two one-credit courses or one two-three-credit course from the approved list.
  2. Creative writing, studio art, music, and theater courses that focus upon design, composition, or performance can be designated Communications III courses.

Communication IV (Senior Presentation)

Goals:

Students should develop an understanding of, and competency in, the use of signs and symbols to construct, create, perceive, and communicate meaning (II).

Students should develop breadth, defined as familiarity with essential concepts in major fields, and depth, defined as knowledge of at least one field--usually achieved in the major (V).

Philosophy:

The Senior Presentation is intended as the capstone of the Liberal Education Program, which emphasizes the importance of communication skills, as well as the importance of applying acquired knowledge. It should also showcase the accomplishments of Whittier College graduates on--and in some cases off--campus, while providing an inspiring example for younger students.

Objective:

To communicate to the campus community the results of a project or activity that demonstrates the ability to translate skills and knowledge to domains and problems new to the student presenter.

Outcomes:

  1. Students will demonstrate advanced communication skills, using one or more modes of presentation.
  2. Students will demonstrate ability to apply general skills and knowledge to new domains and problems.
  3. Students will inspire their younger peers by showcasing their accomplishments.

Guidelines:

  1. The presentation may take the form of a poster, an oral presentation, a concert, an art exhibit, a dramatic presentation, a reading of poems or short stories, a video, a multi-media web page, or some other form, using English or the target language of a major or minor in another modern language. Contributions by individual students to a group presentation are allowed, but each student's participation must be substantial.
  2. Ideally, the presentation will be related to the student's Paper in the Major. It may be based on a class, a research project, a creative project, an internship, a service learning project, a study abroad experience, or another educational activity.
  3. The sponsor will generally be a professor who is already working with the student on a project or activity. It could be the instructor of a class, the student's advisor, or another professor approved by the student's department chair. Any disagreements about the sponsor will be resolved by the Liberal Education Committee.
  4. The Senior Presentation may be prepared as part of any of the following:
    a. a senior seminar or other course in which students write their Paper in the Major, in which case the presentation could be worth more than one credit.
    b.  another course offered by the department, which could be a one-credit course designed specifically for preparing the Senior Presentation (CR/NC or for a letter grade).
    c. INTD 499 Senior Presentation, one credit of independent study which could be taken with any faculty member approved by the department chair (CR/NC).
  5. Senior Presentations may be made in departmental venues, at professional conferences, at undergraduate research conferences, or during a special presentation period each semester.
    When possible, posters and exhibits will be displayed more than one day, with a designated time when the students are available to answer questions about their work.
    The organization and scheduling of Senior Presentations will be coordinated by the Liberal Education Committee with support from staff appointed by the Dean of Faculty.
  6. The audience for Senior Presentations is not just an individual class, but the wider campus community. They will be publicized on campus through flyers, the campus newspaper, press releases to local newspapers, the college website, admissions materials, alumni publications, and other appropriate venues. All students should be encouraged to attend Senior Presentations in order to be empowered and inspired by their senior peers; to become more aware of creative possibilities; and to see the culmination of the Liberal Education program. To this end, attendance might be a required assignment in First-Year Linked courses.
  7. So that the expenses will not reduce funding for other needs in the college budget, the Dean of the Faculty and the Advancement Office will seek grants and special endowment funds to support Senior Presentation Days.

Cultural Perspectives (12 credits)

One Course from four of the following seven areas:

  1. African
  2. Asian
  3. Latin American
  4. North American
  5. European
  6. Cross-Cultural
  7. Foreign Languages

Goals:

Students should develop the capacity to entertain multiple perspectives and interpretations (III).

Students should develop an understanding of culture and of the connections between themselves and others in relation to physical, historical, social, and global contexts (IV).

Philosophy:

Cultural Perspectives courses introduce students to the complexity and diversity of both contemporary and historical human culture, whether material, social, or intellectual. Material culture might, for example, include the study of physical or visual artifacts. Social culture might be understood through the study of institutions, art, religion, theater, ritual, or language. And intellectual culture might include literary, philosophical, religious, and artistic expressions.

The categories African, Asian, European, Latin American, North American and Cross-Cultural are broadly definable; these terms are synoptic and multivalent rather than discrete and unitary geographic categories. But the Cultural Perspectives requirement should remove students from that which comprises their known world, and should inspire them to explore the terra incognita both of their own culture and that of other cultures, whether the distance is that of time or space or both. The purpose of this journey is to help students define and understand their world through contradistinction.

Objectives/Outcomes:

In the aggregate (four courses of the total seven categories), students should:

  1. be exposed to a variety of human cultures, whether material, social or intellectual;
  2. be exposed to contemporary and/or historical cultures;
  3. come to understand that human culture in all of its manifestations is the product of human interaction;
  4. become aware that cultures are not discrete units, but have influenced one another;
  5. have their own narratives about the world, and about how cultures interact, challenged.

Guidelines:

  1. Courses classified in a particular geographic region may focus on cultures in that region, influences of other cultures on that region, and/or influences of that region on other regions.
  2. Courses that may be classified in more than one region should be listed in the region with the greater focus in the course, or in the cross-cultural category if that seems more appropriate.
  3. The cross-cultural category may include courses which explicitly compare two or more cultures, address global issues, or investigate transnational or transcultural currents.
  4. Courses may examine historical or contemporary issues, or both. Ideally students will be exposed to varying time periods across the four courses that they take.

Connections (10 credits)

Goals:

Students should develop the ability to make connections across disciplines in order to understand the convergence and divergence of different fields of knowledge and to understand the nature of an academic community (I).

Students should develop the capacity to entertain multiple perspectives and interpretations (III).

Connections I (one pair or team-taught course)

Philosophy:

Part of Whittier College's historic commitment to being a collaborative community rests in our emphasis on interdisciplinarity--that is, on the building of connections between disciplines and different fields of knowledge. Many colleges and universities have recently adopted paired and linked courses, a curricular approach that Whittier introduced in the 1980s. The Connections I requirement represents the faculty's recognition that there is a variety of approaches to the construction of knowledge, which leads to an understanding of similarities and differences between disciplines. The Connections I requirement invites students to explore comparative methods of analysis of a topic or theme, and requires students to demonstrate an understanding of the connections between disciplines through shared or linked assignments or experiences.  Students fulfill this requirement by enrolling in a pair consisting of two concurrent courses taught by faculty members from two different disciplines; or by enrolling in a year-long sequence of team-taught courses, both taught by two faculty members from different disciplines; or by enrolling in any two three-credit, team-taught courses, each taught by faculty in different disciplines.

Outcomes:

  1. Having begun the process in Community I and II, students will further develop the ability to make connections across disciplines and to understand the convergence and divergence of different fields of knowledge.
  2. Having begun the process in Community I and II, students will deepen their understanding of the nature of an academic community.
  3. Having begun the process in Community I and II and in Cultural Perspectives courses, students will deepen their capacity to entertain multiple perspectives and interpretations.

Guidelines:

  1. All faculty in team-taught and paired courses are required to attend all class meetings that fulfill the Connections I requirement.
  2. All courses meeting this requirement must have substantial connections between them, including at least one shared assignment or experience that requires students to make cross-disciplinary connections.
  3. Faculty teaching pairs should include descriptive language in the course syllabi (perhaps as a cover sheet) that specifies how connections between disciplines will be made palpable.
  4. "Two different disciplines" is defined as faculty from different departments, with the exception of departments in which more than one discipline is housed (e.g., SASW, Art and Art History).
  5. Ideally, at least one Connections requirement should be completed after the student has completed thirty units of coursework.
  6. Faculty teaching Connections I paired courses may require that all students be co-enrolled in both of the courses comprising the pair.
  7. Given that these courses may now require considerable additional labor for the purposes of assessing learning outcomes, the Guidelines Committee and Liberal Education Committee recommend that all faculty receive five credits for teaching pairs, and full credit for team-taught courses that fulfill the Connections I requirement.

Connections II (Science and Society)

Philosophy:

Since the nineteenth century, academic disciplines have typically been seen as discrete entities unto themselves, with their own theoretical frameworks for organizing, understanding, analyzing, and creating knowledge. As disciplines have matured, however, it has become apparent that our real world is not organized in separate distinct units, but rather is an amalgam of its many parts, and thus that additional gains in our understanding of our world will occur not just within disciplines but at disciplinary boundaries.

From medical and technological advances to the application and acceptance of these advances, the practice of the natural sciences and our social and ethical behaviors impact our world in numerous and important ways. It is essential for a liberally educated person to have some understanding of these complex interactions. The purpose of Connections II is to study the relationship between the natural sciences and society, with respect to the impact each has on the practices of the other.

Objectives:

  1. To study a specific issue, set of issues, or general field in the natural sciences in terms of its connection to society.
  2. To explore the theoretical framework for the scientific issue in terms of the sciences and society.
  3. To explore how the natural sciences and society impact one another today and/or have impacted one another historically.

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Students will demonstrate an understanding of the theoretical framework which underlies the scientific issue, issues, or field.
  2. Students will demonstrate an understanding of the relationship between the natural sciences and society through the examination of an issue, issues, or field.

Guidelines:

  1. The course must focus on an issue, a set of issues, or a field that connects the natural sciences to society. The course should contain a significant amount of theory related to the natural sciences, to society, and to the impact they have on one another. At least one third of the course should be based on the natural sciences, and at least one third should be based on societal context.
  2. The different parts of the scientific theoretical framework and the specific connections between the natural sciences and society should be outlined in the course syllabus under Learning Goals.
  3. Teaching methods may include traditional lectures. However, active learning is highly encouraged. Active learning may involve class discussions, group work, field trips, presentations, lab experiments, and other appropriate assignments. The use of technology also is encouraged. Technology may involve analyzing numerical data and constructing graphs using an appropriate application, such as Excel. It may involve students giving Power Point presentations, or it may involve recording and interpreting data through audio-visual techniques.
  4. Ideally, the course will be team-taught by one faculty member from the natural sciences and one from either the social sciences or humanities. An individual faculty member from any discipline may also develop a course that connects the natural sciences to their societal context.

Appendix I

Transfer Students:

Transfer students who enter Whittier with 30 or more credits do not need to satisfy the Community I and II requirements.

Transfer students who enter Whittier with fewer than 30 credits complete the Community I and II requirements as follows:

  • A student who enters in the fall and who has not completed the writing requirement must complete both Community I and Community II.
  • A student who enters in the fall and who has completed the writing requirement must complete Community II.
  • A student who enters in the spring must complete the Community II requirement and, if necessary, must complete the writing requirement.

Appendix II

Logistical Notes for Communication IV

Registration:

When students submit their Graduation Plan, typically in the spring of their junior year, the Liberal Education form will have a place to designate the course being used for preparation of the Senior Presentation. As noted above, this may either be a departmental course or INTD 499 (independent study). The department chair's signature on this form will indicate the department's approval of the course and the faculty member serving as instructor/sponsor. Any disagreements will be resolved by the Liberal Education Committee.

Departmental and College-Wide Support of the Requirement:

Departments not offering a senior seminar are encouraged to offer a course to prepare students for both Paper in the Major and the Senior Presentation, or a one-credit course for just the Senior Presentation if that is more appropriate, so that the faculty time is counted in the teaching load. In any case, instruction in how to give senior presentations should be provided in these courses or in other courses offered by the department, such as required methods courses. College-wide workshops or courses might also be offered on how to prepare presentations involving posters or multi-media web pages.

Timing of Courses and Presentations:

The course used for preparing the Senior Presentation can be offered in the fall, in January, in the spring, or even over the summer. It will require the student to prepare an abstract of the presentation, but need not require the completion of the Senior Presentation as part of the course requirements.

Senior Presentations prepared in the fall semester may be presented in either the fall or spring. Those prepared in January or spring should be presented in the spring. Students expecting to graduate in the summer should have given their Senior Presentation in the spring. If they have been unable to do so, their diploma will be held until fall, when they must register for one credit of INTD 499 or other course required by the department to prepare for the Senior Presentation. Summer presentations will generally not be allowed, due to the absence of most of the campus community.

Tracking Student Progress:

When a student's Senior Presentation abstract has been prepared, it will be written on a form-- similar to an Independent Study form--which will identify the student, the title of the presentation, and its format. The form will also indicate the course in which the abstract has been prepared. If INTD 499, the form will also indicate a grade of CR or NC.

If the student has given his or her Senior Presentation, the form will indicate the date of the presentation, the location (Whittier College or a conference elsewhere), and approval of the presentation (Yes/No) as being of at least C- quality. On the back of the form, the instructor or sponsor will give a snapshot rating of the Senior Presentation for use by the Assessment Committee.

The instructor or sponsor will submit this form to the registrar at the end of the semester in which the course (or INTD 499) is taught. If the student has not yet given his or her Senior Presentation, the Registrar will return a copy of the form to the instructor, who will re-file it once the Presentation is completed.

The registrar also will add a notation to the student's transcript indicating when the Senior Abstract has been submitted and when the Senior Presentation has been completed.