Course Descriptions

Thematic Encounter Courses

Student are required to take three courses on the same theme from at least three different Ways of Thinking: two Thematic Encounter classes, one of which is at the 300-level, and one Thematic Focus class.

There are no general education learning outcomes associated with the Thematic Encounter coursework.  Instead, we assume that most, if not all, Thematic Encounter courses offered would count toward a major; thus, the learning outcomes would include the department outcomes. Thematic Encoumter courses could be 100, 200 or 300 level. They can be taken in any order.

Thematic Focus Courses

(Writing Foundation is a prerequisite and Culture and Social Difference: Identity is a pre- or co-requisite)

Students will take at least one Thematic Focus class. While these courses can count toward the major, they have several obligations to the general education program. These courses are wholly dedicated to a single theme, are associated with a Way of Thinking (or two Ways of Thinking if they are team-taught by two faculty members with different methodological approaches), include a common reading on the theme, and introduce students to the liberal arts and sciences goal of studying a diverse array of disciplinary approaches. They can be on any topic within the theme. In cases where these courses are team taught by two faculty members with different methodological approaches, they can count as two distinct Ways of Thinking.

Required Learning Goals

Analyzing Texts 2 Collaboration 2 Information Literacy 2

Additional Requirement

One co-curricular event on the theme must be incorporated into the syllabus. This could be an Arts event but does not need to be.

Culture and Social Difference: Identity Courses

Culture and Social Difference: Identity (either semester, first year, could count toward a major) In this course, students will learn why none of these categories, in isolation, is sufficient to conceptualize either individual or social identity. Students will learn to think critically about their own gendered, racial, and ethnic identities as well as identify the social and cultural factors that shape and contribute to each. Culture and Social Difference: Identity must address gender, race, and ethnicity in the contemporary United States, though it can do this through the study of texts that are not primarily about the contemporary United States. This is the first of two courses focused on gender, race, and ethnicity. Faculty can choose their own topic, as long as it meets the learning outcomes. This course can count toward majors. This course must be completed in the first year and may not be used to satisfy a Way of Thinking.

Required Learning Goals

Collaboration 1, Gender 1, Race and Ethnicity 1, Speak 1

Additional Requirement

One event related to gender and one event related to race and/or ethnicity must be incorporated into the syllabus. These could be Arts events but do not have to be.

Culture and Social Difference: Systems

(Culture and Social Difference: Identity is a prerequisite) In this course students will demonstrate an understanding of how constructions of race, gender, and ethnicity shape cultural rules and biases and how these constructions vary across time, cultures, and societies. In addition, students will critically analyze the ways in which these forms of identity raise questions of justice in regard to access and participation in communal life.

This is the second of a two-course series on Culture and Social Difference. This course can be on any topic that meets the learning outcomes and criteria. It can be taught in any department and can count toward majors but may not be used to satisfy a Way of Thinking.

Required Learning Goals

Common Good 2 Gender 2 Metacognition 2 Race and Ethnicity 2

Theology 1

(must be taken in the first three semesters)

This is the first of two courses focused on theology. Students think critically about sources and themes of the Christian tradition and begin to explore religious engagement with society. It is likely that this course will be developed under one course number to provide a degree of common grounding for the second theology course, though courses will vary by instructor.

This class also includes a grounding in Benedictine Hallmarks such that students are prepared to meet their Benedictine Engagement (BEN) requirement later. (The first theology class helps prepare students for the requirement but does not itself carry a BEN designation.)

Required Learning Goals

Analyzing Texts 1, Common Good 1, Religious Engagement 1, Theological Reasoning 1

Theology 2

(Theology 1 is a prerequisite)

This is the second of two courses focused on theology. This 300-level course can be on any topic that meets the learning outcomes, moving students into interpretation of theological sources and analysis of religious engagement with society. The second theology courses can be on a variety of topics. As in the current curriculum, these topics can continue to include religions other than Christianity.

Required Learning Goals

Religious Engagement 2, Theological Reasoning 2, Write 2