Contemporary Social Values | Essential Characteristics
Courses fulfilling this requirement focus on issues of difference and commonality in the United States, such as race, class, gender, sexual orientation, immigration status, indigeneity, nationality, disability, and/or religion. Special attention is paid to the intersectionality of these categories.
For these reasons, students are required as part of their General Education to complete a course in Diversity in United States Society. Such a course should enable students to:
- Demonstrate specific knowledge of the history, values, politics, art, communication styles, economies, or beliefs and practices of one or more under-represented groups in the United States, as defined by factors such as race, ethnicity, immigration status, indigeneity, class, sex, gender, religion, disability, and/or sexual orientation
- Recognize the ways multiple factors such as race, ethnicity, immigration status, indigeneity, class, sex, gender, religion, disability, and/or sexual orientation shape individual lives, experiences, challenges, and opportunities in society
- Describe their own intersectional positions in society, and how their positions shape their own lives and their capacity to understand others, to empathize with others' experiences, and to communicate effectively with others
To qualify as fulfilling the campus-wide general education requirement in Diversity in United States Society, a course will include five general approaches to understanding diversity explained below. Your responses should include specific references to assignments, lecture topics, activities and readings that address each approach.
- Definitional: The course will impart an awareness of the ways multiple factors such as race/ethnicity, class, gender, religion, disability, and sexual orientation shape individual lives, how they are embedded in and have shaped our social institutions, and how they produce markedly different outcomes and opportunities for individuals and groups.
- Personal: The course will develop an awareness of students’ own potential biases regarding diversity, the origins of those biases, and their implications for social, economic, and political interactions.
- Social: The course will lead students to an awareness of their own position within a privilege-oppression continuum, and enable them to explore the implications of that position for their lives and for their responsibilities as citizens of a multicultural democracy.The course will develop an appreciation of the culturally constructed nature of distinctions based on several important diversity categories, such as race/ethnicity, class, disability, gender, religion, and sexual orientation, and of how they have varied historically.
- Historical: The course will develop an appreciation of the culturally constructed nature of distinctions based on several important diversity categories, such as race/ethnicity, class, disability, gender, religion, and sexual orientation, and of how they have varied historically.
- Global: Although the course may focus on a specific American minority culture, the course will impart an awareness of how United States culture has been, and continues to be, influenced by diverse Asian, African, Middle Eastern, Oceanic, and Central- and South- American cultures, both historical and contemporary.
Courses in this category focus primarily on cultures or societies outside of the United States and Europe. In the twenty-first century, we live in a richly interconnected world, with closely intertwined political and economic relations, widespread cross-cultural influences, and information flowing across national boundaries. Globalization is the new norm. As a result, we are all now in a significant sense "global citizens." It is impossible to work or plan effectively, or to adequately understand our own country and society, without knowledge of the diversity of global cultures world-wide, as well as the diversity within particular global cultures, and how these other cultures intersect with each other and with our own.
For these reasons, students are required as part of their General Education to complete a course in Non-Western and Global cultures. Such a course should enable students to:
1. Demonstrate specific knowledge of at least one culture or society outside of the United States, specifically one or more non-European cultures (i.e., those originating from Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, or East or South Asia, the Pacific, or indigenous cultures outside the United States)
2. Describe examples of how those cultures or societies studied intersect with or have intersected with other cultures (possibly including US or European cultures and/or a colonial legacy)
3. Identify at least one specific aspect(s) of such a culture, such as its history, thought, customs, art, religion(s), economy, political institutions, colonialism, etc., and say how this aspect is related to other features that shape or have shaped that culture
Guidelines for Non-Western Cultures Courses
To qualify as fulfilling the Non-Western Cultures requirement, a course must focus on the history or present culture of one or more countries from the following continents or regions: Asia, the Middle East, Africa, or South or Central America. A course in Non-Western Cultures that fulfills the campus-wide general education requirement will have the following characteristics:
- The course will acquaint students with the culture, society, and values of a non- Western people, or explore knowledge traditions grounded in non-Western cultural paradigms.
- The course will provide a framework for understanding and appreciating ideas and values of cultures different from those that we commonly identify as “Western.”
- The course, if it primarily explores a specific dimension of one culture or culture-area (e.g., social institutions, artistic productions, religious beliefs, historical experiences), must include assignments that place that dimension in the context of others that also significantly shape the culture.
In addition, the following limitations will apply to specific kinds of subject matter:
- Comparative and cross-cultural courses may take as one of the subjects of comparison a Western culture, but such courses must include in-depth study of at least two non-Western cultures or culture-areas.
- Courses that include an examination of the concept and practices of colonialism must focus extensively on its impact on contemporary cultures, including post-colonial and global economic dynamics. In courses on this topic, in other words, the experiences and perspectives of the colonized peoples must be a main focus of study and discussion.
Courses in this category are primarily about the role wellness plays in a successful life, as well as instruction in activities that will enhance a lifelong commitment to personal wellness. Students will develop the skills and knowledge necessary to incorporate the many dimensions of wellness into a well-articulated philosophy of health and well-being. These courses require students to demonstrate familiarity with the interwoven concepts and principles of physical fitness, healthful living, and the prevention of disease. A comprehensive approach to health and wellness prepares learners for life beyond the university.
For these reasons, students are required as part of their General Education to complete a course in Health and Wellness. Such a course should enable students to:
- Identify wellness concepts.
- Participate in the performance of activities that will enhance lifelong commitment to personal fitness and wellness.
The instruction in health and wellness within these courses needs to be formal in some way, not just a matter of a few words of advice here and there. The course should address at least ONE of the following goals:
- Students should be able to demonstrate skills and knowledge of physical fitness concepts (sports, exercise, dance, etc). The skills and knowledge may be demonstrated partly through physical performance; but the course must also include some academic instructional elements that ensure that these concepts become a familiar part of the students’ thinking, thereby heightening their awareness of the benefits of a lifelong commitment to personal fitness and wellness.
- Students should develop an understanding of holistic health concepts in a manner that promotes personal responsibility for health and wellness. The course must include academic instructional elements that ensure the students’ command of these concepts.Students should learn the means of making lifestyle changes geared toward the maintenance of healthy living and the prevention of disease and illness. The course must include academic instructional elements that direct and encourage students in the understanding and accomplishment of these goals.
- Students should learn the means of making lifestyle changes geared toward the maintenance of healthy living and the prevention of disease and illness. The course must include academic instructional elements that direct and encourage students in the understanding and accomplishment of these goals.