Exemplary General Education Statements

Please scroll through the general education statements below for exemplary models of how to incorporate the Gen Ed learning objectives in a course syllabus.

Course Subject and Number Course Name Gen Ed Designation(s)
Astronomy 101 The Solar System PS
Biology 106 Human Biology BS
Classics 103 Introduction to Classical Archeology AT
Comp-Lit 122 Spiritual Autobiography AL, DG 
Comp-Lit 339 International Crime, Mystery, and Detective Fiction AL, DG
Education 167 Education and Film SB, DU
German 323 Modern German History, 1750 to the Present HS
German 365 Berlin: Global City AL, DG 
Geoscience 103 Introductory Oceanography PS
History 114 China: Origins to the Ming Dynasty HS, DG 
History 120 Latin America: Colonial Period HS, DG
History 265 U.S. LGBT and Queer History HS, DU
Mathematics 128 Calculus for the Life and Social Sciences II R2
Microbiology 255 Introduction to Medical Microbiology BS
Philosophy 100 Introduction to Philosophy AL
Philosophy 343 Beauty and Aesthetic Value AT
Political Science 101 American Politics SB
Theater 105 Drama and the Media: Performing Mythologies in the Contemporary Global World  AT, DG 

Astronomy 101 - Dr. Todd Tripp
The Solar System (PS)

This class satisfies the physical science (PS) general education requirement. According to the UMass General-Education Council, "the purpose of the General Education requirement is to stretch students' minds, broaden their experiences, sharpen their critical thinking and evaluation skills, and make connections through shared experiences." In this course, students will be provided with some knowledge of the physical sciences and the methods used by physical scientists. In this context, students will be required to think about and solve conceptual and quantitative problems of astronomy and physics, including some moderately challenging topics. This will involve some use of basic math. Students will also learn some of the historical background of astronomy and current open questions and goals of the science.

Biology 106 - Dr. Judy Goodenough
Human Biology (BS)

This is a general education course carrying the BS designation. It must meet certain criteria to retain this designation. The criteria and the means of addressing them in a large class are listed below.

1. The course should cover the fundamental principles of the science. We will cover the anatomy and physiology of the major systems of the human body and apply these principles to personal health whenever possible.

2. The course should include critical thinking. A. The exams will include "application" questions. You will be given information (or a scenario) that we have not discussed in class. You will have to apply what you have learned to a new situation.

B. There will be periodic in-class discussions that focus on current social issues. We will explore the conclusions that can be drawn based on the current experimental evidence.

C. Some of the extra-credit assignments will require critical thinking. The in-class writing assignments will ask you to apply a concept discussed in that class to a new situation. Some the extra credit homework assignments will require critical thinking.

D. You have the opportunity to write a research term paper.

3. The course should address the relevance of the science and its impact on society.

A. Some of the extra credit assignments will address social issues.

B. We will have periodic in-class discussions prompted by issues currently in the media.

C. You have the opportunity to write a research term paper.

Classics 103 - Dr. Anthony Tuck
Introduction to Classical Archaeology (AT)

The General Education Curriculum is designed to enhance critical reasoning skills, encourage the creation of cross cultural connections, and promote the broadening of one’s intellectual perspective though its range of courses. This course will ask you to consider historical parallels between the modern world and that of the Ancient Mediterranean, take into account the wide range of perspectives and voices that informs and shapes the historical narrative of the period, and develop and communicate these ideas through a dynamic interaction with your peers as well as through efficient, clear written expression.

Successful completion of this course will fulfill a General Education AT designation. This class is designed to not only introduce you to the material history of the Mediterranean and Western Europe, but also encourage you to consider the social, political and economic motivations that motivate the form and development of some of the Western world’s greatest aesthetic achievements. Through this, you will come to understand structures such as the Parthenon of Athens or Rome’s Temple of Jupiter Capitoline not merely as buildings, but as expressions of the ideas, attitudes, intentions and environment of the people who designed and used them. Moreover, we will consider the ways in which these cultural traditions remain central to Western political and social identity. This will be achieved through careful consideration of the various factors that provoke change in the archaeological record through their presentation in lectures, exams and short papers and through your considered discussion of them through a variety of on-line and group discussion venues.

Comp-Lit 339 - Dr. N.C. Christopher Couch
International Crime, Mystery, and Detective Fiction (AL, DG)

As a General Education course, with the designation for global diversity (DG) and literature (AL), the course includes consideration of crime, mystery, detective and related fiction including thrillers, social- and psychologically-based fictional portraits of crime and individuals identified as perpetrators and victims, and literary experiments developing and mixing new prose styles, formats, and crosscultural hydridization. (See below for more information on General Education.) 

General Education courses are designed to develop skills in critical thinking, writing and other forms of communication, and to open students to diverse ideas, cultures, and ways of organizing our societies and our lives. In a General Education course, written communication is important beyond grades: it is one of the most effective ways to comprehend, share, and indeed to create ideas.  
Also important to General Education is discussion, both in classes and in weekly class time set aside for discussion. Participation in discussion is part of the student’s responsibility in the course, but more it is part of the means of producing knowledge and understanding in a General Education course. Students will be encouraged to bring and share questions for discussion, and a discussion board will be open on the Moodle for opening and continuing discussions before and after class meetings. 
General Education goals in communication, diversity, and problem-solving are incorporated into the content and assignments for the course. The development of crime, mystery, and detective fiction accompanied urbanization and industrialization. Growing literacy and printing technologies fostered popular literature and magazines in the nineteenth century, and sensation, Gothic, and eventually detective fiction arose. This course will include consideration of the response of readers to new forms of fiction, and the class and social meanings of various genres of mystery stories, including early detective fiction, Golden Age “whodunnits,” hardboiled crime and mystery stories, and procedurals, fiction which follows closely the procedures of police and forensic investigators. 
General education courses stress critical thinking, and a critical engagement with the works in the course will illuminate not just literary history but the responses of popular fiction to important social, economic, and political events and conditions. We will analyze mysteries as works of literature, and particularly observe the structure of time, cause and effect, and the depiction of forensic analysis in the plotting and structure of the works, as well as employ close reading to examine questions of discursive modes, thematic complexity, and social class of characters. 
As a popular art, crime, mystery, and detective fiction can be seen as being an indicator of social concerns, as well as having a vast international audience and many different subgenres. This field is expansive, diverse, and socially relevant, from the complex depictions of workers and private and public policing in the Depression through hardboiled fiction, to feminist responses to this genre by women writers in the U.S. and Japan in the 1970s and 1980s as second wave feminism became an international social movement. 
Although our focus is primarily on literary works, as a Comparative Literature course, our studies will also extend to other media, particularly visual and performing arts, which are important venues for the international communication of ideas and tropes of crime and detective fiction, including European cinema, heavily influenced by film noir, Japanese crime and detective films, and the images and tropes extended through illustrated magazines, book covers, and comics and graphic novels. 
Critical thinking, understanding of social and cultural diversity, and the lived experiences of members of the societies depicted in these stories will be part of the project of our course, and students will have the opportunity to explore these through both creative and analytical writing assignments throughout the semester, and through discussion, both in class and discussion sections and through a Moodle discussion board, which will encourage students to analyze the works, social and cultural context, and their own ideas, selves, and society. 
For more information on General Education at UMass Amherst, you’ll find a variety of  resources  at  the  university’s  General  Education  website:  http://www.umass.edu/gened.  

Comp-Lit 122 - Dr. Jessica Barr
Spiritual Autobiography (AL, DG)

In this course, students will deeply read and analyze a variety of literary texts to pursue the following General Education goals: Understanding, applying, and integrating the fundamental questions, ideas, and methods of analysis in the Humanities; critical thinking through inquiry and synthesis; and pluralistic perspective-taking and the awareness of the relationship among culture, self, and other. In addition, our discussions and assignments are designed to fulfill the following goals: Communicating persuasively and effectively, both orally and writing; and working effectively and collaboratively in groups, across perspectives.

Beyond these broad General Education goals, this course also fulfills the Literature (AL)requirement by helping students to develop an appreciation of literature; teaching the fundamental methods of inquiry and analysis used in Comparative Literature; developing critical acuity and the ability to make comparisons; exploring and interpreting the life of the imagination;developing the ability to work with ambiguity and multiple perspectives; exploring the link between literature and culture; and developing the ability to express one’s thoughts in writing. 

It also fulfills the Global Diversity (DG)designation. Among other things, this means that the course will help you to understand, articulate, and critically analyze diverse perspectives; to demonstrate critical awareness of how individual perspectives and biases influence ways of seeing the world; to understand how structural forces have shaped discrimination; and the capacity to engage respectfully with others of perspectives different from your own.Autobiography is uniquely equipped to guide us towards these objectives, since it requires us to see the world from someone else’s point of view.

Education 176 - Dr. Kysa Nygreen
Education and Film (SB, DU)

In this course, you will systematically examine Hollywood representations of teaching and schooling. Using two key disciplinary frameworks—sociology of education, and critical media studies—you will analyze film as both a product and producer of American society and culture. Through critical engagement with Hollywood films about education, you will learn to identify dominant educational ideologies, and conduct media analysis based on race, class, gender, and sexuality. At the end of this course, you will be able to: 
• Identify the major elements, stock characters, and dominant narratives characterizing three major subgenres of American film: the urban high school film; the suburban high school film; and the elite high school film.  
• Conduct critical media analysis of films based on race, class, gender and sexuality, with attention to deconstructing both dominant and counter-narratives. 
• Understand key concepts in the sociology of education pertaining to race, class, gender and sexuality in schools; institutionalized discrimination and oppression; and the relationship between structure and culture. 
• Recognize dominant ideologies shaping both American public education and Hollywood’s high school film genre, including: meritocracy, individualism, gendered scripts, heteronormativity, institutionalized racism, white saviorism, and culture of poverty theory. 
• Produce original media that offers a new, competing, or counter-narrative perspective on educational justice issues
• Critically reflect on your own media socialization and implicit biases; self-reflect on how identity, beliefs and experiences have been influenced by dominant media narratives particularly with regard to messages about race, class, gender and sexuality. 
• Engage in respectful, critical dialogue with students from diverse backgrounds and with diverse experiences, in order to deepen your understanding of course themes and topics. 

This course fulfills General Education requirements (Social & Behavioral Sciences and Diversity) and, as such, pushes you to examine prior assumptions, broaden your knowledge of the world, sharpen your critical thinking, and engage you in intellectual dialogue with classmates.

Together we will explore fundamental questions such as:
1. What do movies teach about high schools? What do they teach about adolescence? What do they teach about academic achievement, merit, inequality and oppression? How do they do that? So what? 
2. What do movies teach about social class, gender, sexuality, race, and racism? How do they do that? So what? 
3. Does popular media primarily reflect culture, or shape it? How? 
4. What dominant ideologies characterize American society and culture?
5. How and why are dominant ideologies perpetuated? 
6. What function do dominant ideologies serve? Who benefits from dominant narratives? 
7. How accurately do dominant narratives reflect social realities? 
8. What is a counter-narrative? Why do counter-narratives matter? 
9. How have your own understandings of the world and myself been shaped through dominant ideologies and media narratives?

German 323 - Dr. Andrew Donson
Modern German History, 1750 to the Present (HS)

This course surveys the troubled history of the modern German nation-state.  It traces how the loose federation of German monarchies and duchies coalesced in the late nineteenth century into a European powerhouse and how the world’s largest and best organized workers’ movement shaped its subsequent development.   Students are asked to take a position in the disagreements among historians about the origins of imperial Germany’s explosive internal political conflicts.  We explore the contradictions:  Why did Germany under the conservative chancellor Otto von Bismarck become the first nation in the world to introduce social security and national health insurance but then fifty years later, under the leadership of another authoritarian leader, torture and murder its Socialists?  Why did Germans introduce suffrage for women before all other major nations but vote in 1933 to rescind it and, in addition, abolish their democratic regime, arguably the most progressive in the world?  Topics include the absolutism of the old regime, the Enlightenment and the Napoleonic occupation, the 1848 revolution, unification and rule under Bismarck, imperialism under Wilhelm II, the First World War, the Weimar Republic, the Nazi dictatorship, the Second World War and the Holocaust, the divided Germanys, and the Federal Republic since 1989.  Special attention is given to the role of youth, workers, women, minorities, and artistic and cultural movements.

Because this course fulfills the general education requirement, we will be reading a variety of texts critically, including a novel, a play, a scholarly monograph, a half-dozen theoretical articles, and numerous short primary sources.  Students also have to submit weekly written answers to questions on these texts.  These questions are largely conceptual:  They ask not merely who someone was but also why that person thought and acted the way he or she did.  The goal is to develop the main skill of the historian:  the ability to place events and ideas in their historical context and draw conclusions about causes and consequences.  In addition, these exercises sometimes ask students to take a position in a debate and, more importantly, offer reasons for their opinion.  Their answers to the questions and their opinions then become the basis for class discussions.

German 365 - Dr. Ela Gezen
Berlin: Global City (AL, DG)

This course fulfills the ALDG general education requirement of the “Social World and Diversity” curriculum area. Focusing on migrant and minority voices within German culture, we will critically engage with a variety of sources (including different genres and mediums), from a broad range of national and cultural contexts present within the city of Berlin. The discussion of the sources will occur in tandem with the cultural and historical contextualization of the course materials, drawing upon different methodologies and disciplines, such as musicology, anthropology, literary studies, history and film studies. It will be central to the course to examine how songs, films, art projects, and literary texts are influenced by and comment on, historical, socio-political and cultural processes and transformations. Therefore we will investigate how artists with minority and migrant background(s) engage with questions of national identity, ethnicity, belonging, otherness, and race within their works. At the same time, we will examine the significance of these concepts in a global framework, by comparing Germany and the US in terms of their status as countries of immigration and explore how diversity has shaped, influenced, and transformed society and our relationship to it. Conducted in English. 4 credits.

Learning Objectives 
By the end of this course, you should be able to: 
• describe the role minorities, migrants and non-Germans occupy in the configuration of Berlin as a diverse global city and capital of Germany 
• understand cultural products as sites where the concepts of nation, identity, race, and ethnicity are explored 
• analyze literary and non-literary texts from various genres by ethnic, religious, and social minorities and explain how they represent and reflect upon the city of Berlin specifically and Germany in general 
• organize and write an essay of literary, music or filmic criticism, using supporting arguments with appropriate quotations from the primary texts and secondary sources

Geoscience 103 - Dr. Mark Leckie
Introductory Oceanography (PS)

Welcome to Introductory Oceanography! There are a number of reasons why you are taking this class. Many of you are taking this course to fulfill your Physical Science (PS) general education requirement. Many of you are interested in the oceans and wish to learn more. Perhaps you will decide to major in the Earth or Life sciences and pursue advanced degrees in marine geology or marine biology. Perhaps you plan to go to law school and specialize in Environmental Law or the Law of the Sea. Or maybe your family gets its livelihood from the sea, or spends a lot of time near the coast for pleasure. Over the years perhaps you’ve developed many questions about the sea.

You have enrolled in a general education course designed to acquaint you with the fascinating features of the nearly 71% of our home planet covered by water. The ocean basins are vast regions still shrouded in mystery, where new discoveries are being made every year. Our goal in Geo-Sci 103 is to provide you with a basic knowledge of just how the oceans work, how they impact and control the habitability of our planet, and how vital they are to our very existence. These are broad themes that reflect the spirit and value of the general education curriculum that is a part of your UMass experience. As citizens of our small world, we would argue that everyone should take a course like this! With jet service to almost anywhere in the world, financial markets electronically and politically linked for “real time” transactions 24-7, and global populations striving to live as well as we do here in the U.S., it's important for all of us to gain a holistic view of our integrated geosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere, and cryosphere. At the same time, we want to explore the notion of scientific thinking and analysis. We will discuss how researchers collect data, form ideas, and then test those ideas. We want you to understand the scientific theories that help us understand Earth processes and history. For example, we are sure that the core of the Earth is solid. Why? No one has ever been there. Hurricane frequency and/or intensity are likely to increase in coming years, say climatologists. Why? The Labrador Current moving south along the New England coast is warmer now than it’s been in 70 years. Why? Will this impact the price of fish in the grocery store? We are rapidly depleting our natural hydrocarbon reservoirs. Can the ocean provide alternate sources of energy? Scientific research can help evaluate the impact of human activity on our home planet and it can have a direct effect on public policy. The latter is also governed in large measure by how global change begins to affect our everyday lives.

In addition to a broad introduction to the science of oceanography, the scientific principles upon which it is based, and the importance of the ocean in our daily lives, there are other benefits of this PS General Education course. Specifically, the pedagogy used in this course and the policies implemented here are relevant to the real world. For example, meeting deadlines, arriving to class on time, preparing for classes and exams, working in groups, considering diverse perspectives, communicating effectively (see below), and writing well are tangible life skills that will serve you well while you are here and after you leave UMass.

History 114 - Dr. Sigrid Schmalzer
China: Origins to the Ming Dynasty (HS, DG)

This class offers an interdisciplinary approach to Chinese history up through the Ming Dynasty. It fulfills general education requirements in history (HS) and global diversity (DG). Let's take them one at a time.

1) History. Perhaps you think that history means "stuff that happened in the past," and that taking a history class means listening to a professor tell stories about this stuff and then reciting those stories on exams. That is not what we will be doing in this class. Rather, I will be introducing you to history as a discipline, as a way of exploring the past—that is, the theory and practice of history. We will not be testing you on information that the textbook lays out on a platter. Instead, the most important readings will consist of primary sources. What is a primary source? It's something that was created by the historical actors themselves—that is, by the people in history we're studying. Primary sources are the evidence that historians use to figure out what happened in the past, how people lived their lives, and how things changed over time. You will learn to read these sources, analyze them, and use them to form historical arguments (interpretations of the past). Some of the materials are secondary sources—that is, they're written by other historians who themselves have analyzed primary sources and formulated their own interpretations of Chinese history. But even in these cases, you will not passively read each page, underline the important facts, memorize them, and then take a test. Instead, you will think, talk, and write about how the authors use primary sources to make their historical arguments. There is also a textbook for the course: please use it as a resource, but focus your efforts on the other readings.

2) Global Diversity. This class satisfies the requirement in global diversity in part because it focuses on the history of a country that is not the United States or Europe. (This is obvious, right?) However, my goal is to teach a class on Chinese history that would satisfy diversity requirements even if we were in China. Why? Because we will emphasize the cultural diversity of China itself, the way it has changed over time and across space. China two thousand years ago was NOT the same as China today. The place we call China has not always had the same name; it has not always been the same size; its culture has changed a great deal over time and space. What "China" means to people of Chinese heritage living in the United States in 2018 is very different from what it meant to people living in the fifth century. Even just looking at the fifth century, people living in the north of what we call "China" were culturally quite different from people living in the south. They did not necessarily even think of themselves as being the same kind of people, as sharing a cultural identity. And China over the years has had changing relationships with foreign cultures; what we know as "China" has beenshaped by these foreign cultures over time. Studying diversity is not just a simple matter of studying another country. It means thinking seriously about our assumptions of what constitutes difference and similarity. It means getting beyond thinking in lump categories like "China" or "America," and instead recognizing that just because two people may both be considered "Chinese," this doesn't mean that there is some kind of essential thing that "Chinese" is. As we move beyond essentialist understandings of culture, we will also tackle questions of power in Chinese history. In other words, we will consistently ask what forms of power (e.g., class, gender, ethnic, religious, etc.) structured social relations, how different groups of people were or were not able to access those forms of power, and what other ways people found to exercise their agency.

History 120 - Dr. Heidi Scott
Latin America: Colonial Period (HS, DG)

Course Outline 
This course surveys the history of colonial Latin America, examining the encounters between Iberians, the Indigenous peoples of the Americas, and African peoples over the course of three centuries. The class explores the reciprocal effects of this contact. What effects did the conquest have on the peoples, cultures, environments, and demography of the Americas? What were the characteristics of the societies, cultures, and environments that emerged from this ongoing process of contact, conflict, and colonialism? We examine, among other themes, experiences and portrayals of conquest, the formation of colonial communities, the role of the Catholic Church, slavery and the formation of racialized caste systems, everyday life in colonial society, and the collapse of empire in the early nineteenth century. Opposing viewpoints and historiographical debates set the tone for at least some lectures and discussions. We make frequent use of textual and visual primary source materials throughout the semester. Assignments for the course include a midterm exam, an assignment based on the analysis of historical sources, a book review, and active participation.  
Course Objectives 
All General Education courses prepare you for lifelong learning by introducing you to subjects, disciplines, and perspectives that you might not otherwise encounter, in a way that connects your experiences in the classroom to the wider world. This particular course explains some of the key historical processes that have shaped Latin America since the era of conquest. At the same time, the course helps you to hone your skills in reading, writing and critical analysis. These skills are crucial for moving beyond personal opinion and experience in order to understand diverse peoples, places, and events, both within the academic sphere and in the wider world. This General Education course has two designations – HS (History) and DG (Global Diversity) – and these designations shape its central objectives. I explain these objectives in more detail below.  
DG: Courses with this designation offer you the opportunity to learn about societies, cultures, and environments beyond the boundaries of the United States and, at the same time, to read about, discuss, and analyze a wide range of social, cultural, and political perspectives that have shaped human societies across the globe. In this particular course, we explore the conquest and colonization of the Americas by the Iberians (the Spanish and Portuguese). More specifically, we examine the confluence, conflict, and interactions between different societies and cultures – Amerindian, Iberian, and African – that shaped colonial Latin America over a period of three centuries. In studying this time period, we explore the varied perspectives and lived experiences of people and communities who belonged to diverse groups within colonial society. In doing so, we will study and analyze an array of historical sources – written documents, images, and maps that were produced by the inhabitants of the colonial world and that exemplify diverse experiences and points of view. 
HS: History is often perceived – or rather misperceived – as an accumulation of facts about past events that must be memorized. A key objective of this course is to introduce you, instead, to the idea of history as an interpretive practice. In other words, we will explore together how the significance of varied events, actions, and processes in colonial Latin America have been variously interpreted by different scholars, and how and why these interpretations have changed over time. Just as individual sources (texts, maps, images, objects) open to varied forms of interpretation, so too the choices which historians make in using particular kinds of sources play a vital role in how they make sense of a particular event (for example, how and why the Spanish were successful in conquering the Inca empire). In addition, we will see that historiography – the writing of history – is profoundly shaped by the prevailing social and political contexts within which historians write about the past. A central objective of the course, then, is to allow you to gain an awareness and understanding of the dynamism of history as a discipline, and to train you to think like a historian.  

History 265 - Dr. Julio Capó, Jr.
U.S. LBGT and Queer History (HS, DU)

This four-credit course fulfills both “HS” (i.e., Historical Studies) and “DU” (i.e., Diversity: United States) general education requirements. HS: While we will interpret the past, we will do so as a means to better navigate our present and shape our future. If we understand history as “change over time,” what patterns can we identify in relation to the ways individuals who expressed non-normative gender and sexual behaviors, desires, and sentiments experienced life in the United States? For example, the United States recently grappled with the issue of same-sex marriage. What conversations, debates, and reforms occurred to nudge the movement in that direction? By exploring these issues, we will garner a greater understanding of several modern-day realities. This includes debates over equality, social justice, and human rights. This, of course, opens us up to a wide-range of issues, such as access to health care, employment, “legal” status (for LGBTQ immigrants, for instance), and many others. These explorations prompt us to reconsider the role of choice and human agency in the world around us. In addition, the course explores the discipline of history more broadly. You will learn how to identify distinct arguments and interpretations and think critically about primary and secondary source materials. You will also be introduced to several of the resources available to us as researchers at UMass and the Five Colleges. All the while, we will remain critical of the “gaps” and “misgivings” of the archive. U: Throughout the course of the semester, I will pose the following question: How different does U.S. history look when we “queer” past events, figures, and movements? As this suggests, this course places you in the role of historian. I will guide you as you revise your knowledge of the United States in a much more diverse and multi-cultural framework that centers the lives of people whose gender presentation and sexuality were read as outside the norm. This course emphasizes questions of intersectionality. It asks you to consider how constructions of class, race, ethnicity, age, nation, and ability collide with concepts of gender and sexuality. We will reevaluate moments in the past that do not, at the surface, appear to relate to the historical trajectory of queer individuals. This includes (im)migration reform, health care access, incarceration rates, stop-and-frisk policies, the neoliberal and punitive state, and labor practices. Through critical thinking, writing, and reading, you will engage with new ideas, concepts, and ideologies that will benefit you well beyond your years in college. With a heavy focus on primary source materials, you will make critical assessments as both a producer and consumer of historical knowledge.

Math 128 - Dr. Farshid Hajir
Calculus for the Life and Social Sciences (R2)

MATH 127 is a General Education course.  Learning the concepts of calculus in this course involves critical thinking -- logic and mathematical precision inform the teaching and learning of calculus throughout Math 127. At the heart of calculus is the notion that motion and change can be subdivided into smaller and smaller intervals and then analyzed piece by infinitesimal piece. This idea of de-construction/re-construction goes back in ancient times to Archimedes. But it was only in the hands of Newton and Leibniz that the mathematical notation, language, and sophistication of this idea could be sufficiently well-developed to serve as a tool for the wider community of mathematicians and scientists. The ideas continue to be subtle and elusive until experience and repeated practice renders them less abstract: grasping them requires a fine analysis and an active imagination, in addition to technical mastery of basic algebraic formalisms. Learning to apply the abstract concepts of limit (the technical device for synthesizing quantities after breaking them into infinitesimal components), continuity, and differentiation to the act of modeling real-world problems, is a separate and further overall theme for the course. Students learn in this course to incorporate and relate two kinds of knowledge in this course: the abstract notions of how the derivative can help to locate the "turning points" of a curve, for example, relate immediately to solving problems involving how to maximize profit or minimize loss of heat through a porous membrane.

MATH 128 satisfies the General Education R2 requirement.  A brief description of how the learning goals for this course match the R2 requirement objectives follows.

This course emphasizes two major topics of elementary calculus: the fundamental theorem of calculus and its many applications including elementary probability and, secondly, the calculus of functions of several variables culminating with Lagrange multipliers for constrained optimization problems. It also introduces a few elementary differential equations.

In terms of the General Education Program objectives:
1. Content: Know fundamental questions, ideas, and methods of inquiry/analysis used in the discipline. The central idea of calculus is a method, dating back to Archimedes, but extended and perfected by Newton and Leibniz, for measuring rates of change of smoothly changing quantities. The notation, techniques, and theorems developed by Newton, Leibniz, Fermat, and many other notable mathematicians, are fundamental tools in any discipline where the relationships between smoothly varying quantities are of interest.

2. Critical Thinking: Students demonstrate capacity for making comparisons and developing critical acuity. Students in this course engage in a particular kind of Critical Thinking employed in the mathematical sciences -- a particularly pure form of Critical Thinking involving logical and numerical relationships. These notions are infused throughout the entire course. For example, students in this course develop a very concrete understanding of the concept of 'marginal cost,' connect that concept with a picture of the slope of the tangent line, and are able to compute it using the derivative. Making good budgetary decisions are often predicated on a solid understanding of this concept.

3. Communication: Developing information literacy and technological literacy
Students in Math 128 learn the technical details of a fundamental notion of modern society: all around us are quantities in constant flux and much of the technological society we live in is predicated on our ability to monitor and predicted these changing quantities. We know how to compute the average of a discrete set of numbers, but how do we compute the average value of something (pressure in a blood vessel, say) when that quantity is constantly in flux? How do we compute the probability of an event when the parameters for it are continuously changing? This is the kind of question students learn to answer in this course. This kind of understanding is of increasing relevance in today's information-rich world.

4. Connections: Demonstrate capacity to apply disciplinary perspectives and methods of analysis to real world problems (the larger society) or other contexts.
The course has two simultaneous components which share air time throughout the course. Namely, the course introduces abstract notions such as functions, graphs, derivatives of functions, etc. and relates these to the measurement of quantities, velocities, rates of growth or decay etc. with direct applications in the sciences and engineering. Students learn how to take a concrete problem such as "If the rate the body produces a certain antibody is given, how do we compute the amount of antibody produced after a certain length of time?" and create a set of mathematical ideas modeling the problem. They then apply techniques of calculus to solve the mathematical problem and relate its solution to answer the real-world problem.

Creative, analytical, quantitative and critical thinking in solving problems form the backbone of the students' experience in this course through the introduction of definitions, theorems, and techniques in readings and lectures and weekly problem sets as well as exams. This course focuses on the students' ability to solve problems: these are of two kinds -- they can be strictly mathematical (as in 'compute the slope of the tangent line') or in the context of a real-world problem (as in 'how fast is the population of this colony growing?'). For the second type of problem, students learn how to model the real-world problem -- primarily from life and social sciences -- using mathematical functions and notation, then they solve the mathematical problem. Then, they must relate the answer back to the real-world problem. Writing is not a focus of the course -- partially due to practical considerations given the large number of students who take the course and limited resources in the department. But the rigor of the problems discussed and their close relation to real-world problems provide the students with a very rich experience in line with the R2 standards of the General Education program.

Microbiology 255 - Dr. Shelly Thibodo
Introduction to Medical Microbiology(BS)

Introduction to Medical Microbiology is a General Education BS course that offers you an opportunity to learn about basic biological concepts and apply these concepts to understanding infectious diseases and how the human host interacts with organisms that cause these diseases. Case studies are utilized to encourage students to analyze information and predict causes and outcomes of infection. By examining these case studies, we will first hypothesize what possible etiological agents are involved in the disease. We will then suggest how to test for the accuracy of our initial judgment and investigate other possible explanations.

Through laboratory exercises and the group project, students explore how these infectious agents affect human society and also how society influences the transmission, treatment and eradication of these agents.  By participating in the group project, students learn to work together to write and present information to their peers, an exercise that will be repeated throughout most professional lives.

Philosophy 100 - Dr. Eileen O'Neill
Introduction to Philosophy (AL)

This course provides a historical introduction to Western philosophy through the interpretation of early modern (16th-18th centuries) texts by canonical male, and recently rediscovered female, philosophers.  The instructor will provide information about the historical and cultural circumstances that gave rise to these texts, and will point out rhetorical strategies used by the authors. Historical and literary interpretation will be pressed in the service of providing the best reconstruction of the arguments in these works.  Students are expected to utilize the reasoning skills that they acquire at the beginning of the course in their critical evaluations of these arguments.  Students will have ample opportunity to demonstrate their mastery of textual interpretation and argument analysis in the weekly at-home writing assignment, and in the in-class essay, quizzes and essay exams. The wide-ranging themes of the course have an underlying sub-theme: sceptical arguments.  For example, we’ll examine sceptical challenges to: the theses that “might makes right” and that “women are by nature intellectually inferior to men” (Gournay), our belief that the senses and reason are reliable guides to the truth (Descartes), and our belief that our inductive practices are rationally justifiable. (Hume).  Given the importance and breadth of the texts and topics covered, the stress on critical evaluation of arguments, and the focus on written and verbal expression, this course meets the objectives of the General Education Arts and Literature (AL) curriculum.

Philosophy 343 - Heidi Buetow
Fulfilling the Gen Ed Requirement with Philosophy of Art (AT)

This course is intended to satisfy the "Arts" (AT) designation of the "Social World" curriculum area for the General Education requirement. General Education courses are directed towards accomplishing four categories of learning: Content, Critical Thinking, Communications, and Connections. In order to understand the goals of this class it is helpful to think of them in terms of their relationship to these categories.

Content: The notion of aesthetic value, in particular beauty, has remained a central theme in philosophical studies of art throughout time. Focusing on beauty and aesthetic value as the topic of this course will allow us a unique opportunity to cover many of issues that are central to the philosophy of art and aesthetics. We will discuss various topics relating to aesthetic value, such as: What is aesthetic value and what is its relationship to beauty? Is aesthetic value objective or subjective? What is the nature of aesthetic value and its relationship to aesthetic taste? Do some people have better taste than others when it comes to beauty? What is the relationship between aesthetic taste and gustatory tastes? Is taste in art really that different from taste in food? What is the relationship between aesthetic value and morality? Does aesthetic virtue have anything to do with moral virtue? What is the relationship between aesthetic value (especially beauty) and sexuality? Where is the line between the erotic and the pornographic? What are the limits of beauty? Can disturbing or revolting things be aesthetically valuable? What is the relationship between art and beauty? Does beauty still have a place in the art world today or has art outgrown beauty'? What is the importance of taste or beauty in life and in art? Is beauty essentially useless or does it have a purpose?

Critical Thinking: As mentioned above, there is a heavy emphasis in this class on learning how to think clearly and critically. In the first part of the class you will learn how to critically evaluate a particular philosophy theory on the basis of the logical consequences of the theory. This part of the class will prepare you to understand and evaluate informal arguments in a structured and rigorous way, and to apply aesthetic theories to real world situations. Next, you will become familiar with some basic formal logic, and you will learn how to apply these skills to the evaluation of formal arguments. Finally, you will learn how to extract a formal argument from an informal argument, and to express your own theories in the shape of a formal, valid argument.

Communication: Thinking deeply about an issue is an essential skill, but clearly communicating your thoughts is equally important. In this class we will go through several "stages of communication" which are designed to improve the way you refine and communicate your ideas. In the first stage (the "intuition stage"), you will write a response paper which is designed to help you express your rough ideas about a topic. In the second stage (the "discussion stage"), you will discuss your ideas in a small group, and then with the entire class. This stage is designed to help you refine your views in light of arguments from your classmates. In the final stage (the "written stage"), you will learn how to clearly and effectively communicate your ideas in writing. At every stage of communication there will be an emphasis on communicating your ideas in a way that is tolerant and open minded.

Connections: Throughout this class you will he challenged to apply the methods of philosophical analysis to real life questions. The purpose of a philosophy class is not to teach you the answers, but to help you learn how to look for them yourselves.

We will only brush the surface of some important and on-going debates. Though you can't necessarily expect to leave here with the answers to all of your questions about aesthetics, you will leave here with a better sense of the issues. More importantly, you will have uncovered your own reasons for holding the views that you do. You may find that some of your views will change after exposing them to critical evaluation. You may also find that you have better reasons for holding your old views then you did before you took this class.

Political Science 101 - Dr. Ray La Raja
American Politics (SB)

This course fulfills a General Education requirement (Social & Behavioral Sciences) and, as such, pushes you to examine prior assumptions, broaden your knowledge of the world, sharpen your critical thinking, and engage you in intellectual dialogue with classmates. At the most basic level, this course aims to teach you about American politics. Specifically, you will learn about the ideas, political institutions and political activities that shape contemporary politics in the United States.

One goal is to expose you to foundational ideas concerning American government and democracy. However, I also want to test your assumptions (and that of political ‘pundits’) against evidence. Throughout the course you should ask: how do we know that is true? I ask especially that you listen to alternative perspectives, as a way of discovering the soundness of your own opinions. The course also strives to engage you in politics as a citizen by developing habits of reading newspapers, political blogs and finding sources of information to help you understand the world of politics. You will be asked in this course to learn about who represents you and how they deal with issues that are important to you. Ultimately, I expect students who take this course to participate confidently as citizens in American democracy (or your home country) and perhaps pursue leadership roles in the future.

Theater 105 - Dr. Megan Lewis
Drama and the Media: Performing Mythologies in the Contemporary Global World (AT, DG)

General Education aims at personal enrichment, cultural awareness, and breadth of knowledge. General education requirements will help to prepare you for a lifetime of learning and give you skills for community engagement and informed citizenship. This course fulfills two General Education requirements:

Theater & Performance Studies and Media Studies are intrinsically artistic fields. This class provokes comparison and critical acuity by exposing students to a variety of
“performances” across our own and other cultures and engaging in analysis and critique of these performance texts within their social, cultural and historical contexts. The course also provides participatory experiences such as watching performances and plays as well as the hands-on experience of creating media in various collaborative creative projects.

This GenEd Diversity Global class will cover literatures and performances from non-US sources and encourage pluralistic perspectives. Because, as educated individuals, we
should be guided by attitudes which value cultural differences, this course asks you as a student to consider your own perspectives and how your individual experiences and biases (conscious or unconscious) influence your way of seeing the world. As well, we will examine diverse social, cultural, and political perspectives from outside our US-based culture and build your capacity to listen to and communicate respectfully with others of diverse perspectives. Understanding that different cultures and societies provide unique contexts for human experience, we will examine and critically analyze how myths – the stories cultures tell themselves about themselves – circulate in our own culture and place this in comparative context with other cultures, specifically the Middle East, and Africa. As we examine these specific sites, we will attend to the dynamics of power in modern societies and hone our sensitivity to the structural and cultural forces that shape or have shaped discrimination based on factors such as race, ethnicity, language, religion, class, ability, nationality, sexuality, or gender. We do all this in order to prepare ourselves to live, work, and thrive in a diverse society and world.

As a GenEd course, TH105 introduces students to the fields of Theater/Performance Studies and Media Literacy. By examining how the media functions through the lens of theater and performance, students will be able to:
• explore, interpret, and evaluate the life of the imagination as expressed through dramatic media;
• decode, interpret, compare, and critique a variety of media texts;
• understand the similarities and differences between how various mediatized and dramatic forms are constructed, produced, understood and how they make meaning in culture;
• explore how artistic skill, technique, and conventions are employed to tell stories using various media;
• understand how those stories are located within the culture that produces them and the ways in which different cultures are framed by others and perform themselves;
• recognize how social and cultural ideologies, mythologies, and politics function in relation to the mediatized and dramatic communication channels under study; and
• explore the creative expressions of artists and media makers from across the globe as they seek to represent, (re)define, challenge, and change their worlds.

• learn about yourself and others by encountering different perspectives and points of view;
• practice collaboration in this Team-Based Learning (TBL) course through several hands-on creative team projects;
• cultivate empathy and self-reflexivity by engaging media about ourselves and others and by working in teams; and
• experience team dynamics and learn about how you and your peers collaborate most effectively.