Courses in College Community Program (Division 349)

101. Understanding Liberal Education. (1). (Excl). Offered mandatory credit/no credit.

The idea that a well-educated person needs to be liberally educated has come under significant scrutiny in recent years. Students begin specialized, rather than generalized, studies earlier in their college careers. In this high-technology era, even the basic components of a liberal arts education are called into question. Should, for example, computer literacy be part of everyone's general education? Does a liberal education adequately provide for its students to make their way in the "real world?" The purpose of this course is to examine the underpinnings of liberal education as it has been (almost) classically defined. Aristotle called the learning of the generalist, paideia, and this was for him the highest form of education. In modern settings, this study has included learning the foundations and major theories and concepts in the social sciences, natural sciences, and humanities. In this course, we will also include foreign languages as a primary component of a liberal education. The primary objectives are: to help students to learn to read and think analytically and critically; to appreciate the major divisions of intellectual inquiry; and to provide students with enough background to make more thoughtful academic and course choices from among the thousands of options available at an institution the size of this university. As we explore each division of intellectual inquiry, we will focus on the following common areas: (1) the nature and methods of intellectual inquiry in each field of study; (2) how practitioners in each field practice their craft; (3) the most interesting current questions or problems in each domain. Course Requirements : attendance at all class sessions; active participation in discussions; a one page abstract on each division of knowledge; and a five page essay (submitted at the last class) on some facet of liberal education (to be discussed in advance with the instructor). Grading : The course will be graded on a credit/no-credit basis. Credit will be granted to students who actively participate in class sessions and submit required writing assignments. This course is open only to residents of West Quad in the College Community Program. (Levy)


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