Curriculum Pathways

Pathway Requirements

Pathway Descriptions and Indicators

The narrative below describes this particular Pathway. The indicators and outcomes serve as a guide for course development and evaluation.

I. Cultural Diversity

Cultural Diversity challenges the student to articulate how her/his perception of reality is culturally embedded and how values, assumption and beliefs are reflected in behavior. This scrutiny fosters respect for the diversity of peoples and cultures. This respect requires more than just exposure to cultural differences; it requires intellectual discourse which examines such differences critically and is attentive to the challenges of understanding global and community members whose lives are shaped by cultures other than one's own.

*These courses can be taught on campus, online or as study abroad, but must dedicate significant time to course indicators and student outcomes below:

Course indicators

This Pathway requires three of the following indicators:

  1. Content addresses historical and current relationships between or among cultures.
  2. Provides a framework for building student understanding of his/her own culture.
  3. Attends to cultural worldview, examining multiple categories of identity including gender differences.
  4. Teaches students to recognize and analyze power in cultural context.
  5. Provides well-designed opportunities to explore inclusion, equity and justice issues particular to that field of study.

II. Social Sciences

Social Science is the study of psychological, economic, social, cultural, and/or political thinking and behavior in individuals and societies. Students discover the interconnectedness and relationships among motivation, learning, and development, including the causes and implications of differences and similarities among people.

Course indicators

This Pathway requires several of the following indicators:

  1. Address using a broad focus, one or more of the following: psychosocial, economic, social, cultural and/or the political thinking of individuals and societies.
  2. Examine the relationships and interconnectedness between motivation, learning, development and change.
  3. Explore the causes and implications of differences and similarities among people.
  4. Explore alternative theoretical frameworks which have been used to offer meaningful explanations of social phenomena.

III. World Language

Language guides our thinking, shapes our perceptions and is the foundational element of culture. The four skills of language study - listening, responding, reading and writing - provide the key that opens the door to a deepened understanding and appreciation of the world's cultures and peoples.

Course indicators

This Pathway requires several of the following indicators:

  1. Lead to increased mastery of communicative skills of language study, such as listening, responding, reading and writing.
  2. Present content designed to highlight the intimate link between the world language studied and the peoples who use it.
  3. Emphasize a cultural perspective that places the world language studied within the context of world cultures.

IV. Literature

Literary study emphasizes close reading of and thoughtful expression about texts from a variety of perspectives and issues, ranging from forms and genres to modes and historical-cultural contexts. Focused on language, literary study involves both individual work and communal ways of understanding texts through oral and written interpretation. Literary study fosters the imaginative and intellectual effort needed to engage in varying cultural experiences to understand human values.

Course indicators

This Pathway requires several of the following indicators:

  1. Content includes the reading of literary works as a major portion of the course content, ranging from forms and genres to modes and historical-cultural contexts.
  2. Promote close reading of and interpretation of texts from a variety of perspectives and issues.
  3. Introduce students to literature as a 'way of knowing' and the ways in which literature has contributed to our cultural experiences and human existence.

V. Analytical Reasoning

Analytical reasoning is an approach to knowledge which includes the ability to break down a larger problem and theory into constituent elements, gain an organized, logical, and/or empirical understanding of the patterns and relationships among those elements, apply that understanding in a methodical fashion to similar situations, and communicate that understanding in language appropriate to the problem. The development of analytical abilities enables students to consider and respond more capably to the complexities of responsible living and the challenges of meaningful work.

Course indicators

This Pathway requires several of the following indicators:

  1. Examine problems by reducing them into their constituent elements.
  2. Develop the ability and language to recognize and describe the patterns of relationship among elements of a problem.
  3. Employ those abilities to solve a variety of problems and effectively communicate the solution processes to others.|

VI. Natural Sciences

The natural sciences attempt to discover principles or laws which describe life and the physical universe through the cycle of observation, formulation of hypotheses, experimentation, and development of theory. The fruits of scientific discovery enable humans to appreciate the beauty and inter-connectedness of the universe in its many parts and exercise stewardship over the resources nature provides. Students who take natural science courses are better able to understand the scope and limits of the scientific endeavor, how science has shaped the modern world, and the technical issues society now faces.

Course indicators

This Pathway requires several of the following indicators:

  1. Use scientific principles or laws to describe life and the physical universe.
  2. Utilize the scientific method.
  3. Provide understanding of the scope and limits of scientific endeavor.
  4. Provide understanding of how science has shaped the modern world.
  5. Provide understanding of the technical issues society faces.
  6. Enable the student to appreciate the beauty and the interconnectedness of the natural world.

VII. History

History is an interdisciplinary study that reflects upon and analyzes human experience. It focuses on the ways women and men are active agents in transforming the world and how the past illuminates the present. Students explore human societies in different times and places, encouraging cross-cultural comparisons. Courses in history contribute to creating better informed, more critically thinking citizens who understand themselves and the world around them in deeper, more diverse ways.

Course indicators

This Pathway requires several of the following indicators:

  1. Examine the history of any society, people or country using a broad focus with respect to time and place.
  2. Include a knowledge of the distinctive features of the history, institutions, economy, society, and culture under study.
  3. Include a methodological component [tools and approaches] utilized to indicate how and why we know something of a time, place, and people.
  4. Enable students to develop an appreciation for the diversity of the human community.

VIII. Fine Arts

Art is created in all human cultures as a response to life. All forms of art can enable us to express depths of spirituality and emotion, rationally explore that which gives us pleasure, shape social values, reach out to others across time and culture, and create something more lasting than we are. Through the creation and study of art, students consider its definition, interpretation, and impact on humanity. Art merits both technical and reflective study as part of a liberal education.

Course indicators

This Pathway requires several of the following indicators:

  1. Address historical, cultural, critical, or theoretical dimensions of an artistic field.
  2. Require both critical reflection and practice of methodologies or skills in the fine arts.
  3. Consciously engage with the imagination required to produce artistic objects or performances which express emotion or spirituality, and thus stand outside conventional ideas of utility.

IX. Philosophy

Philosophy, the love of wisdom, uses natural reason to guide the search for the good life. The study of philosophy challenges the student to think critically and make and evaluate arguments. The aim of philosophy courses is to contemplate those questions that will lead to responsible living.

Course indicators

This Pathway requires several of the following indicators:

  1. Examine the importance and development of various questions addressed by philosophers.
  2. Explore the methods and issues of philosophical inquiry as a 'way of knowing'.
  3. Provide experiences that lead to critical examination of basic assumptions about life.

X. Religious Studies

The study of theology and religion involves the academic exploration of our relationship with God and the nature and role of religion. Courses examine beliefs, rituals, ethics, sacred writings, spiritualities, and the meaning and application of faith in students' lives. Most courses reflect the Christian tradition or the Benedictine Catholic heritage. Consistent with an ecumenical and interfaith perspective, courses are often in dialogue with Protestant Christianity, Judaism, and other faiths. Particular courses focus on the traditions and theologies of other world religions.

Course indicators

This Pathway requires several of the following indicators:

  1. Examine central religious and theological questions and the ways Christianity and/or Catholicism and/or other religions have approached and resolved such questions.
  2. Assist students in identifying and understanding their religious convictions and faith communities.
  3. Encourage an ecumenical perspective and pluralistic sensitivity that respect the diversity of religious convictions.
  4. Stimulate and develop students' critical thinking skills and cultivate facility in academic argumentation.
  5. Introduce students to methodological issues in the investigation and evaluation of religious traditions and texts.
  6. Dialogue about moral questions and social justice issues as a means of developing in students the necessary skills for ethical decision making and living justly.
  7. Foster the integration of theological insights into students' wider educational, social, cultural, religious, and spiritual experience.

WI. Writing Intensive

This Pathway requires several of the following indicators:

a.  A Writing Intensive (WI) course is one in which at least half of the final grade is based on writing.
b.  Faculty teaching WI courses must spend time in and out of the course teaching writing, not just assigning writing. Faculty should adopt a process approach to writing so that students have the opportunity to practice writing and receive feedback that will help them develop their writing skills.
c.  Faculty who offer writing intensive (WI) courses should ask students enrolling in those courses to write at least 4000 words.
d.  Writing in WI courses may include essays, analyses, reviews, letters, journals, reports, arguments, and/or research papers.
e.  2000 of the 4000 word total must be formal, edited, and proofed texts: these texts might include essays, research reports, and/or documents which would be appropriate in a professional context.
f.  WI course enrollments are limited to 20 students.
g.  Faculty members who teach a WI course should have training before teaching the course. English Department faculty will offer writing workshops at least once a year.
h.  Faculty who wish to offer WI courses must be prepared to demonstrate, in some detail, how writing will be incorporated in their courses, what writing activities they will assign, and how they (faculty) will work with students to help them develop their writing skills.