Core Curriculum - Liberal Learning - Christopher Newport University

Liberal Learning

Core Curriculum

Christopher Newport’s Liberal Learning Core Curriculum comprises a minimum of 40 semester hours of coursework, and includes the Liberal Learning Foundations and the Areas of Inquiry.

Liberal Learning Foundations (21 Credit Hours)

The five Foundations introduce students to the expectations and habits of mind that are hallmarks of university life, and ensure their ability to communicate effectively, solve problems, and interpret and evaluate information.

These courses introduce students to the conventions of academic writing, including assessment and use of sources, as well as the aims and practice of argument.

Courses in the modern languages help students develop competence in reading, writing, listening and speaking. Courses in ancient languages teach students to comprehend and critically analyze primary sources.

These courses introduce students to basic manipulative skills, elementary algorithms and the role of mathematics in modeling and understanding real-world phenomena.

Coursework teaches students to identify, analyze and apply the formal elements of inductive and deductive logic. Forms of inductive logic include arguments from analogy and causal and statistical inferences. Forms of deductive logic include syllogisms and arguments from contradictions.

These courses use the concept of opportunity cost to identify a tradeoff of a decision, compare marginal cost and marginal benefits of a decision, use the model of supply and demand to illustrate the effects of public policy, and collect and explain data as an indicator of an economy.

Areas of Inquiry (19 Credit Hours)

The five Liberal Learning Areas of Inquiry introduce students to various modes of inquiry so that they may comprehend a range of scholarly approaches to knowledge and learning, including:

  • The historical and philosophical traditions that have shaped the Western world
  • The rights and responsibilities of citizens in a democracy
  • The interrelations within and among global and multicultural communities
  • The dynamics of the creative process
  • The scientific method

These courses focus on the human drive for creativity and self-expression in a wide range of forms and over a wide variety of cultures. Students examine creative works both structurally and within a larger context. They may also produce creative works.

These courses engage students in the examination of the rights and responsibilities of citizens in a democracy by exposing them to America’s founding principles. Students explore and critically analyze the texts and documents central to the American experience, the structure of American civic and democratic institutions, historical and contemporary debates and the people who engage in them, and the political systems that frame constitutional democracies.

These courses probe conflicts and creative resonances shaped by cultural difference, as well as bridges built by shared understanding. Courses consider culture in terms of race, gender, ethnicity, religion, class, sexual orientation, or national origin. They examine strategies of negotiation, resistance, or assimilation as these cultures interact with society’s dominant structures.

These courses introduce students to natural sciences in the modern world. Both lecture and laboratory courses focus on how science is conducted and how scientific knowledge advances in individual fields. Students in these courses will understand the process by which scientists gain knowledge about objects, phenomena, the laws of nature and the laws of the physical world.

These courses explore the defining ideas, cultural perspectives and patterns of thought that have evolved in Europe throughout its history as well as in the Americas after 1500. The courses highlight important characteristics of Western societies and situate them in a broad and meaningful context. Students are encouraged to grapple with the original thinkers of the West through the study of literary works, historical documents, theoretical essays, and works of art and music. Students will meaningfully engage with key elements of the Western tradition and understand its influence on our modern cultures today.

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