School of Humanities and Sciences

General Education in Humanities and Sciences

Mission of the General Education Program

The general education program in the School of Humanities and Sciences provides students with the resources necessary for a lifetime of inquiry, discovery, and responsible citizenship. The program fosters literacy in the liberal arts, including an understanding of concepts, perspectives, and methodologies across the humanities and sciences curriculum and the ability to think critically, communicate effectively, and appreciate diverse cultures and perspectives.

Goals

General education students should

  1. explore how we, as individuals, come to act and believe as we do, how we relate to one another in small or large groups, and how we govern ourselves within our communities;
  2. understand the physical basis of the natural sciences and associated technology, as well as the methods that scientists use to study physical and natural phenomena;
  3. learn to perform basic computations and understand how mathematical literacy and/or formal, logical reasoning is necessary to solving a variety of society's problems, such as those found in business, finance, health, politics, law, and economics;
  4. learn to analyze and understand the uses of verbal language in forms of expression such as plays, stories, essays, speeches, and everyday conversation;
  5. learn to analyze and understand artistic performances and visual works of art as ways of expressing a range of meaning, from the emotions and ideas of individual creators to the ideas of entire societies;
  6. explore how the past shapes the present and the reasons behind the changes;
  7. examine self, society, science, mathematics, formal reasoning, language, and/or the visual and performing arts from the position of a human community outside the United States.

To meet these goals, students in H&S must complete foundation, focused curricular choice, and global and historical perspective requirements in addition to the requirements of their specific majors.

Foundation Requirements

Writing Effectiveness

Effective writing is defined as writing that is clear, focused, and adequately developed in response to an assignment. Such writing is well organized and reasonably correct, according to conventional standards of grammar, punctuation, and usage.

Students satisfy the writing effectiveness requirement first by completing a level-1 writing course, WRTG 10600 to WRTG 16500. At the end of each of these courses, the instructor applies the criteria established for effective writing to determine whether the student meets the writing requirement. Students may verify that the requirement has been met by checking their degree evaluation on HomerConnect. Students failing to satisfy the requirement after earning credit for WRTG 10600, WRTG 10800, or WRTG 16500 may then meet the requirement either by enrolling in WRTG 11100 (if credit has not already been earned for this course) or by completing a writing portfolio under the direction of a writing department faculty member.

Students failing to meet the writing effectiveness requirement after completing the portfolio process must satisfy it by meeting guidelines established by their major department. Detailed information on the portfolio process is available from the writing department and the student's academic adviser. Guidelines for departmental portfolio processes are available from each academic department in H&S.

Mathematics

Students must either achieve a score on the math placement exam placing them in group 3, 2, or 1 or, if placed in group 4, earn a grade of C- or better in MATH 10000 or MATH 18000.

Focused Curricular Choice

The general education program of the School of Humanities and Sciences divides its general education curricular choice into five areas. Courses that may be used to fulfill the requirements of the general education program carry a designation indicating the curricular area in which the course is placed. Designated courses that meet major and/or other degree requirements may also be counted toward satisfying the requirements of the general education program.

Some course credits earned through College Board Advanced Placement examinations may not meet the general education requirements of the School of Humanities and Sciences. Up to two courses (6 credits) of AP credit may be used toward the general education requirement. This rule applies only when students receive course-specific AP credit for courses that have been designated as general education courses.

Students are required to complete 33 credits in the following five general education areas:

Twelve credits in self and society (1): This curricular area explores how we as individuals come to act and believe as we do, how we relate to one another in small or large groups, and how we govern ourselves within our communities. Two of the following activities must be central to courses meeting the requirements for this curricular area:

a. Students will explore their own values, beliefs, and behaviors and trace the causes for and sources of those values, beliefs, and behaviors.
b. Students will also discover how they express those values and beliefs through their actions and learn to evaluate the effects of these values and beliefs on their daily lives.
c. Students will come to understand the developmental process of identity formation.
d. Students will examine interactions between diverse cultures and institutions and explore areas of both harmony and conflict.
e. Students will explore the ways in which cultures and institutions help shape, and in turn are shaped by, the lives and decisions of their members.

Six credits in science (2a): This curricular area provides understanding of the physical basis of the natural sciences and associated technology, as well as the methods that scientists use to study physical and natural phenomena. Two of the following activities must be central to courses meeting the requirements for this curricular area:

a. Students will develop an understanding of some basic scientific principles.
b. Students will develop an appreciation for the relevance of science to society, as well as some comprehension of the interaction of humans and the natural and physical world.
c. Students will develop an understanding of the methods the natural sciences use to study the physical world through courses that include an experimental component and/or an observation component and/or a component to evaluate data and develop and test hypotheses.

Three credits in mathematics and formal reasoning (2b): This curricular area assumes basic skills in mathematics and then progresses beyond this ability to an understanding of how mathematical literacy and/or formal, logical reasoning is necessary to solve a variety of society's problems, such as those found in business, finance, health, politics, law, and economics. One of the following activities must be central to courses meeting the requirements for this curricular area:

a. Students will examine mathematics and/or other formal reasoning systems as tools in societies.
b. Students will examine mathematics and/or other formal reasoning systems as reflections of the concerns, values, and direction of human communities.
c. Students will examine mathematics and/or other formal reasoning systems as abstract, universal systems.

Six credits in language (3a): This curricular area reflects on the everyday and artistic uses of verbal language in forms of expression such as plays, stories, essays, and speeches. One of the following activities must be central to courses meeting the requirements for this curricular area:

a. Students will analyze texts to discover the role language plays in how people view themselves and their world.
b. Students will use language to shape ideas about themselves and their world.

Six credits in visual and performing arts (3b): This curricular area concentrates on the human urge to create artistic performances and visual works of art as ways of expressing a range of meaning, from the emotions and ideas of individual creators to the ideas of entire societies. One of the following activities must be central to courses meeting this curricular area:

a. Students will examine how performances or visual works stimulate our emotions, provoke our thoughts, and even guide our actions and beliefs.
b. Students will perceive and understand the visual and performing arts and articulate this perception and understanding.
c. Students will place the visual and performing arts in the larger context of human communities.
d. Students will create their own performances or visual works to understand the processes by which people express meaning and as a way of exploring values and beliefs.

Global and Historical Perspectives

A number of courses in the five curricular areas of inquiry cultivate a global and/or historical perspective. A course is categorized as primarily global in focus if it concentrates on developing an understanding of communities outside the United States. It is categorized as primarily historical in focus if it concentrates on developing a historical understanding of how communities develop and function. A course can be designated as both global and historical if it concentrates on both of these aspects.

Students in H&S must include in their coursework at least 6 credits with a global designation and 6 credits with a historical designation.

Courses satisfying the global and historical perspectives requirements may come from those courses used to satisfy the area/category requirement. A course with a dual global and historical designation may be used to meet the requirement in one or the other perspective but not both. Credits earned in an approved study-abroad program will fulfill the global perspective requirement.

Students are required to complete 12 credits in the following perspectives:

Six credits designated to have a global perspective (G): This curricular requirement is also a perspective found within the five curricular areas. The global perspective is designed to help students understand self and society, science, mathematics, formal reasoning, language, or the visual and performing arts from the position of communities outside the United States. A full semester of study outside the United States fulfills this requirement. Ithaca College courses must focus on one of the following activities to fulfill the global perspective requirement:

a. Students will examine the nature of the viewpoints, beliefs, and organizations of a community outside of the United States.
b. Students will examine the verbal, written, or visual ways in which members of a community outside of the United States express themselves through physical structures, works of literature, art, music, or mass media.

Six credits designated to have a historical perspective (H): Courses offering a historical perspective are found within the five curricular areas. Courses carrying this designation must explore how the past shapes the present and the reasons behind historical change. One of the following activities must be central to courses that fulfill the historical perspective requirement:

a. Students will study how the events, institutions, works, expressions, or ideas that we study from the past are related to what preceded them and followed them.
b. Students will examine the relationships between contemporaneous events, institutions, ideas, and individuals, and those in a past society.

General Education Requirements

Foundation Requirements      
Writing effectiveness Any level-1 writing course (from WRTG 10600 to 16500) and determination by instructor that students are effective writers.   3-4
Mathematics Math placement score of 3, 2, or 1, or if placed in group 4, a grade of C- or better in MATH 10000 or MATH 18000.   0-3
Focused Curricular Choice: Area of Inquiry Category Credits Area Total
1. Self and society     12
2. Science, mathematics, and formal reasoning a. Science
b. Mathematics and formal reasoning
6
3
9
3. Human expression a. Verbal language
b. Visual expression and performing arts
6
6
12
Historical perspective: courses that concentrate on developing a historical understanding of how cultures develop and function Courses used to satisfy the global and historical perspective requirements may come from courses satisfying the area/category requirements. 6 6
Global perspective: courses that develop an understanding of cultures outside the United States   6 6