The Connections component is intended to tie general education to the rest of the curriculum, including the majors, by helping students develop attitudes shared by educated people and more advanced academic skills within specific academic contexts. Three of the seven Connections are tied explicitly to the majors in that students take courses required by the major which advance their writing, quantitative, and technological skills in ways appropriate to the major. In many cases, one or more of the other four Connections may be tied to the major as well.
Quantitative Reasoning in the Disciplines (3 to 4 credits)
Mathematics finds application in all fields of scholarship. All disciplines make use of quantitative reasoning in some way and to some extent.
Students take a three or four-credit Quantitative Reasoning (QRCO) course specified as required for their major. This course may be taught within the major discipline or not. It might teach quantitative techniques used as primary or secondary tools within the discipline, or might be a course in which students of less quantitative disciplines come to deepen their appreciation of the relevance of quantitative reasoning to us all.
Technology in the Disciplines (3 to 4 credits)
In the modern world, technology has application to every academic discipline, and educated people must have an understanding of technology that will allow them to adapt to rapid technological change.
Students take a three or four-credit Technology in the Disciplines (TECO) course specified as required for the major. This course may be taught within the major discipline or not. The course will help students examine the role of technology within their own discipline and within a larger societal and cultural context. The TECO course will provide students with hands-on experience using current technologies; with a broad understanding of the concepts underlying current technology; with an understanding of the potential ethical issues involved with the use of technology; and with an understanding of forces, based in the needs and values of our culture, that drive technological innovation.
Writing in the Disciplines (3 to 4 credits)
Students take a three or four-credit Writing course (within a major) that contains significant writing experiences appropriate to the discipline. These experiences must include Writing Across the Curriculum activities that facilitate student learning and help students become better writers. At a minimum these activities demonstrate three specific aspects. (1) Students in the course do substantial writing that enhances learning and demonstrates knowledge of the subject or the discipline. Writing assignments should be an integral part of the course and account for a significant part (approximately 50 percent or more) of the final grade. (2) The course demonstrates an approach to writing as a process where students have the opportunity to submit and receive feedback on multiple drafts of major assignments. (3) Students have the opportunity to write for formal and informal, graded and ungraded occasions throughout the course with an emphasis on the use of writing as a mode of learning.
Diversity (3 to 4 credits)
Becoming educated involves developing awareness of, sensitivity to, and appreciation for viewpoints other than those to which we have been acculturated. Through such development comes increased respect for those different from oneself.
Students take a three or four-credit Diversity (DICO) course (either within the major or not) designed to broaden and deepen awareness and appreciation of differences and commonalties of sub-cultural groups in the U.S. society defined by differences in race, ethnicity, ability, social class, religion, politics, gender, or sexual orientation. International courses do not address diversity in U.S. society so DICO credit is omitted from international courses. .Diversity courses do this by exposing students to the life stories and the voices of members of different groups and by exploring issues of equity, opportunity, and justice.
Global Awareness (3 to 4 credits)
Educated people are aware that human beings are interdependent members of a world community, that there are both similarities and differences in the societies and cultures of the world, and that the manners in which people live their lives need not be exactly alike.
Students take a three or four-credit Global Awareness (GACO) course (either within the major or not) designed to expose them to the important societal issues facing the world and to encourage them to develop the ability to appreciate and think about issues from different points of view. Global Awareness courses focus on the forces that have shaped peoples, cultures, nations, and regions of the world. They increase students’ understanding of each person’s position, participation, obligations, and responsibilities within the world community.
Integration (3 to 4 credits)
We live in a world where scholarship is increasingly interdisciplinary. The educated person recognizes the challenges and rewards of drawing connections between fields of knowledge and of applying alternative methods of inquiry to solve problems.
Students take a three or four-credit Integration (INCO) course (either within the major or not) which brings content or methods of inquiry from two or more disciplines or perspectives to bear on a problem or question. The Integration course is a General Education capstone course, taken in the junior or senior year. As such, it should require substantial, although general, background and a high level of proficiency at most or all of the General Education skills.
Wellness (3 to 4 credits)
To be fully educated, people need respect for and understanding of how health, physical activity, and wellness contribute to mental acuity and emotional well-being. Awareness of and attention to the physical can enhance the cognitive and emotional aspects of life.
Students take a three or four-credit Wellness (WECO) course (either within the major or not) designed to increase their understanding of the connection between mind and body. These courses expose students to the theory and practice of life-span wellness and fitness activity, and to the knowledge, attitudes, habits, and skills needed to live well. Their goal is to help students cultivate life skills which will promote mental, physical, and emotional well-being.