General Education

General Education Program – the Liberal Arts Inquiry

Students begin the Liberal Arts Inquiry (LAI) – the university’s General Education program - with a First-year Seminar that prepares them for success.   Students across all majors explore all students explore multiple fields of study, ways of thinking, and practices of scholarship and creativity. The LAI prepares students as critical thinkers who adapt to challenges and opportunities beyond graduation. 

See the General Education section of the current University Catalog for a detailed description of each category.

Components and Structure

The Liberal Arts Inquiry General Education program engages in practices, explores areas, and develops skills through courses with the following designations.  Many courses carry two or three designations because they combine practices and skills.  For example, a class may focus on Social Scientific (S) practice while developing Information and Media Literacy (IMLI) skills to critically Analyze Perspectives and Worldviews (APW). A  Natural Scientific (N) course will often reinforce Quantitative Reasoning (QRE) skills.

View the program structure through this helpful graphic.

First Year Seminar

The First Year Seminar serves as a bridge between high school and college learning experiences. It builds a foundation for success in college and beyond by developing essential academic skills with the help of a dedicated professor and student peer advisor.

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Areas of Inquiry

Courses in this category introduces a diverse array of intellectual and creative practices and engage with multiple perspectives on complex questions. 

Creative Practice

Creative practices emphasize artistic practice and peer review across the spectrum of creative expression.

Humanities Practice

The humanities examine how meaning is constructed, recorded, and interpreted from written, historical, or artistic works.

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Natural-Scientific Practice

A hands-on lab or field class uses the scientific practice to teach about the natural world.
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Social-Scientific Practice

Scientific exploration of the social world provides an important framework with which to further understand, change, or preserve its systems.

World-Language Practice

World Language courses use the deliberate practice of language acquisition to broaden cultural and geographic perspectives. Students may choose a language where they already have some knowledge or proficiency (see Language Placement) or a new language.

Inquiries into Self & Society

Inquiries into Self and Society analyze complex issues and relationships between individuals and social and cultural worlds that surround them

Analyzing Perspectives and Worldviews

Students explore differences in ethical worldviews and systems of meaning and analyze assumptions and cultural conventions.

Evaluating Self in Society

These courses explore how common societal practices and cultural assumptions affect people’s assumptions and positions.

Critiquing Power and Inequalities

Classes examine how power, privilege, and inequality operate, and are resisted or transformed.

Thinking Globally

Ethical complexities and challenges related to global interconnectivity are common themes in these courses.

Literacies and Skills

The Literacies and Skills below are essential for success both in academics and beyond.  They are developed throughout the college career and applied in a variety of learning contexts. 

Oral Communication

A live-presentation course develops public-presentation skills to communicate ideas effectively and confidently.

Quantitative Reasoning

Quantitative Reasoning courses focus on numerical information for problem solving and constructing arguments.

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Writing is both a method of disciplined inquiry and way of representing an informed position.  The Writing Foundations course focuses on academic reading and writing strategies.  Advanced writing-intensive courses build on that foundation. The Research Writing course addresses information literacy and research strategy. A Writing in the Discipline course develops the conventions and strategies specific to a discipline. Students usually take Research Writing and Writing in the Discipline courses in their major.

Community Engagement and Reflection

Community Engagement and Reflection engages active citizenship, using community-based learning, service learning, and internships.

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