Student Learning Outcomes for THE CORE LIBERAL ARTS AND SCIENCES STUDIES PROGRAM

 

[Approved October 6, 2005 by the University Senate CORE Committee]

In our world of rapid economic, social, and technological change, students need a strong and broadly based education. General education helps students achieve the intellectual integration and awareness they need to meet challenges in their personal, social, political, and professional lives. General education courses introduce great ideas and controversies in human thought and experience. A solid general education provides a strong foundation for the life-long learning that makes career-change goals attainable. The breadth, perspective, and rigor provided by the CORE curriculum helps Maryland graduates become "educated people."

BROAD OUTCOME GOALS FOR THE CORE CURRICULUM

After completion of CORE Program requirements students should be able to:
  1. Demonstrate understanding of major findings and ideas in a variety of disciplines beyond the major;
  2. Demonstrate understanding of methods, skills, tools and systems used in a variety of disciplines, and historical, theoretical, scientific, technological, philosophical, and ethical bases in a variety of disciplines;
  3. Use appropriate technologies to conduct research on and communicate about topics and questions and to access, evaluate and manage information to prepare and present their work effectively to meet academic, personal, and professional needs;
  4. Demonstrate critical analysis of arguments and evaluation of an argument's major assertions, its background assumptions, the evidence used to support its assertions, and its explanatory utility;
  5. Understand and articulate the importance and influence of diversity within and among cultures and societies;
  6. Understand and apply mathematical concepts and models; and
  7. Communicate effectively, through written and oral communication and through other forms as appropriate.

CORE categories include a broad range of courses with varying content, methodologies and goals. No one CORE course will address all of the Learning Outcome Goals listed for its category. Some courses may contribute to general education in important ways not directly covered by the learning outcomes listed. The proposal process allows faculty the flexibility to select from, modify and/or add goal statements as needed in order to capture the three to five most important general education contributions of their courses and to identify and conduct appropriate assessments. In such cases, the category goals listed below may serve as guidelines and examples while individual course goals may relate more closely to the broad outcome goals for the CORE Program.

This document will remain open to modification as the need arises.

Students achieve these broad CORE Program learning goals through the outcomes in each of the four CORE areas: Fundamental Studies, Distributive Studies, Advanced Studies, and Human Cultural Diversity.

I. FUNDAMENTAL STUDIES

Fundamental Studies build competence and confidence in basic writing and mathematics. Mastery of these basics enhances success both during and after college. Students begin fulfilling Fundamental Studies requirements in their first year at the University.

Introduction to Writing

The Fundamental Studies Introduction to Writing requirement prepares students with a foundational understanding of academic writing and the skills for success in further studies at Maryland and beyond.

Students should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate understanding of writing as a series of tasks, including finding, evaluating, analyzing, and synthesizing appropriate sources, and as a process that involves composing, editing, and revising;
  2. Demonstrate critical reading and analytical skills, including understanding an argument's major assertions and assumptions and how to evaluate its supporting evidence;
  3. Demonstrate facility with the fundamentals of persuasion as these are adapted to a variety of special situations and audiences in academic writing;
  4. Demonstrate research skills, integrate their own ideas with those of others, and apply the conventions of attribution and citation correctly; and
  5. Use Standard Written English and edit and revise their own writing for appropriateness.

Mathematics

The Fundamental Studies Mathematics requirement prepares students with the mathematical understandings and skills for success in whatever majors they choose, as well as in everyday life.

Students should be able to:

  1. Interpret mathematical models given verbally, or by formulas, graphs, tables, or schematics, and draw inferences from them;
  2. Represent mathematical concepts verbally, and, where appropriate, symbolically, visually, and numerically;
  3. Use arithmetic, algebraic, geometric, technological, or statistical methods to solve problems;
  4. Use mathematical reasoning with appropriate technology to solve problems, test conjectures, judge the validity of arguments, formulate valid arguments, check answers to determine reasonableness, and communicate the reasoning and the results; and
  5. Recognize and use connections within mathematics and between mathematics and other disciplines.

Professional Writing

The Fundamental Studies Professional Writing requirement prepares students for the range of writing expected of them after graduation.

Students should be able to:

  1. Analyze and address a variety of professional rhetorical situations;
  2. Establish requisite authority and credibility through various forms of research;
  3. Produce various standard kinds of professional writing and adapt materials from one kind to another;
  4. Enhance the fluency and range of vocabulary and syntax with which to meet the requirements of different rhetorical situations; and
  5. Demonstrate competence in Standard Written English.

II. DISTRIBUTIVE STUDIES

The Distributive Studies requirement introduces broad areas of learning in many disciplines. Through these courses, students explore different kinds of knowledge and the very nature of scholarship in the humanities, arts, natural sciences, mathematics, social sciences, and history. They also have the option of exploring interdisciplinary and emerging issues. Students generally pursue Distributive Studies in the first two years of their course work.

Humanities and the Arts

The History or Theory of the Arts (HA)

Students should be able to:

  1. Investigate the role and value of art in human life and demonstrate an understanding of the significance of specific art forms to the cultures that create them and adopt them;
  2. Describe specific processes by which works of painting, sculpture, architecture, music, dance, theatre, film, multi-media, or environmental art are created; describe general creative processes common to two or more of these media;
  3. Interpret and analyze works of painting, sculpture, architecture, music, dance, theatre, film, multi-media, or environmental art;
  4. Demonstrate the dependence of meaning upon cultural and historical context when analyzing works of art;
  5. Compare and contrast one work of art with another or one medium with another to illuminate both; and
  6. Use appropriate technologies to conduct research on and communicate about the history or theory of the arts and to access, evaluate, and manage information to prepare and present their work effectively.

Literature (HL)

Students should be able to:

  1. Investigate the role and value of literature in human life and demonstrate an understanding of the significance of specific literary works or genres to the cultures that create them and adopt them;
  2. Describe specific processes used to create works of literature; describe general creative processes common to two or more literary genres;
  3. Interpret and analyze works of literature;
  4. Demonstrate the dependence of meaning upon cultural and historical context when analyzing works of literature;
  5. Compare and contrast one work of literature with another or one genre with another to illuminate both; and
  6. Use appropriate technologies to conduct research on and communicate about literature and to access, evaluate, and manage information to prepare and present their work effectively.

Humanities: Language, Culture, and Philosophy (HO)

Students should be able to:

  1. Investigate the variety of human culture and demonstrate an understanding of the ways in which cultures have changed;
  2. Understand and employ a wide range of humanistic, qualitative, quantitative, theoretical, or philosophical methods for recording and explaining human experience;
  3. Describe ways in which a given language reflects a way of thinking, cultural heritage, larger set of cultural values, or aspects of society;
  4. Identify and assess their own and others' values; identify the underlying premises in their own and others' arguments; and
  5. Use appropriate technologies to conduct research on and communicate about language, culture, and/or philosophy and to access, evaluate, and manage information to prepare and present their work effectively.

Sciences and Mathematics

Physical Sciences (PS and PL) and Life Sciences (LS and LL):

Students should be able to:

  1. Use quantitative information and/or mathematical analysis to obtain sound results and recognize questionable assumptions;
  2. Demonstrate understanding of the broad principles of science and the ways scientists in a particular discipline conduct research;
  3. Make observations, understand the fundamental elements of experiment design, generate and analyze data using appropriate quantitative tools, use abstract reasoning to interpret the data and formulae, and test hypotheses with scientific rigor;
  4. Understand how findings and ideas in science can be applied to explain phenomena and events and influence the larger society;
  5. Understand the role that human diversity plays in the practice and history of science;
  6. Communicate about science using appropriate oral and written means; and
  7. Demonstrate proficiency in the collection, interpretation, and presentation of scientific data.

Mathematics and Formal Reasoning (MS):

Students should be able to:

  1. Interpret and apply quantitative information and/or mathematical analysis to obtain sound results and recognize questionable assumptions;
  2. Understand major concepts and their applications;
  3. Analyze and interpret formulae and quantitative information using appropriate technologies and abstract reasoning;
  4. Understand and articulate how findings and ideas can be applied to explain phenomena and impact the larger society; and
  5. Communicate quantitative information, analyses, etc. through appropriate written and/or oral means.

Social Sciences and History

Social and Behavioral Sciences (SB)

Students should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of findings and theories in the social and behavioral sciences;
  2. Demonstrate understanding of investigative methods used in the social and behavioral sciences;
  3. Demonstrate critical thinking about arguments in the social and behavioral sciences and evaluate an argument's major assertions, its background assumptions, the evidence used to support its assertions, and its explanatory utility;
  4. Understand and articulate how culture, society, and diversity shape the role of the individual within society and human relations across cultures;
  5. Demonstrate knowledge of how social science can be employed to: (a) analyze social change, (b) analyze social problems, and (c) analyze and develop social policies; and
  6. Use appropriate technologies to conduct research on, and communicate about, social and behavioral sciences and to access, evaluate, and manage information to prepare and present their work effectively.

Social and Political History (SH)

Students should be able to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of important findings and theories in social and political history;
  2. Demonstrate understanding of investigative methods used in social and political history;
  3. Demonstrate critical thinking about historical arguments and evaluate an argumentŐs major assertions, its background assumptions, the evidence used to support its assertions, and its explanatory utility;
  4. Understand and describe change in history and historiography; and
  5. Use appropriate technologies to conduct research on and communicate about social or political history and to access, evaluate, and manage information to prepare and present their work effectively.

Interdisciplinary and Emerging Issues

Interdisciplinary (IE)

Students should be able to:

  1. demonstrate understanding of the interconnections of knowledge within and across disciplines;
  2. delineate and describe connections among different disciplines as they apply to specific systems around a central focus;
  3. draw on multiple, relevant fields of study to analyze and solve problems; and
  4. use appropriate technologies to conduct research on and communicate about interdisciplinary studies and to access, evaluate, and manage information to prepare and present their work effectively.

Emerging Issues (IE)

Students should be able to:

  1. demonstrate an understanding of the interconnections of knowledge and its connections to the past, present, and future developments and or issues;
  2. delineate and describe the importance of studying and/or researching this/these emerging issue/s;
  3. articulate understanding of ways in which information and knowledge are connected to past events or findings and recent developments; and
  4. use appropriate technologies to conduct research on and communicate about emerging issues and to access, evaluate, and manage information to prepare and present their work effectively.

III. ADVANCED STUDIES

The Advanced Studies element of the CORE Program requires students to take two upper-level courses outside their major. With few restrictions, this requirement gives students great flexibility in selecting courses from the University's rich and varied upper-level offerings. The Advanced Studies requirement encourages students to build upon the strengths and interests they discovered in Distributive Studies courses or to explore areas of academic interest they have not yet pursued. The Advanced Studies requirement allows students to broaden their perspectives, acquire critical analysis skills in fields outside their major, and reflect on relationships between different views of the world.

If a student's major offers a CORE Capstone course, the student may substitute that course for one of the two required Advanced Studies courses. Academic departments create Capstone courses to serve their majors. Therefore, departmental, college and campus approval and review processes may be sufficient in a learning outcomes environment.

IV. HUMAN CULTURAL DIVERSITY

Human Cultural Diversity encourages students to learn about attitudes, cultures, and experiences different from their own. Students may complete the Cultural Diversity requirement at any time before graduation.

Students should be able to:

  1. Investigate major issues and scholarly approaches related to diversity;
  2. Analyze concepts and implications of diversity;
  3. Demonstrate understanding of historical, cultural, social, or political conditions and the ways in which they influence the status, treatment, or accomplishments of at least one of the groups identified under the human cultural diversity requirement;
  4. Articulate how diversity helps shape the role of the individual and the interconnections and relationships within and among groups across societies and cultures; and
  5. Use appropriate technologies to conduct research on and communicate about diversity and to access, evaluate, and manage information to prepare and present their work effectively.

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CORE Planning and Implementation
Office of the Dean for Undergraduate Studies
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Last modified Wednesday, May 21, 2014
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