Thematic Learning Areas

The New Core Curriculum

Five Thematic Learning Areas
The SJC core curriculum includes courses that represent the areas of human knowledge and culture deemed essential for a liberal education - that is, for free men and women who must assume responsibility for directing their own lives and contributing to national and international decisions. By grouping the courses into five broad thematic learning areas, the College has indicated the relationships among the various disciplines and the importance of an interdisciplinary approach to the study of liberal arts and sciences.

Quest for Meaning

Students are required to take two course in this area.

Rationale: Some questions transcend our specific culture and are deeper and broader than a focused preparation for a career. The invite us to engage in a sustained practice of self-reflection in community with others on things that matter to us as human beings in the world.

Description: Course offerings in this area examine various human attempts to understand the nature of such values as truth, beauty, goodness, justice and love; and invites students to engage in a systematic examination of such core human questions as: Who am I? What can I know? How can I be a good person? For what can I hope? And even to question these questions.

Outcome: Students will be able to formulate and articulate their own view of the meaning of human existence, morality and the good life. Students should achieve a working knowledge of some of the ways in which humans have approached these big questions and attempted to answer them.

Global Perspectives

Students are required to take two course in this area.

Rationale: Openness to the exploration and understanding of diverse ideas, traditions and cultures, coupled with an appreciation of problems that transcend national boundaries, will supply students with a strong background for working in a global economy, living in a multicultural society and making intelligent decisions as global citizens.

Description: Course offerings in this area are designed to broaden the perspective of the student to include knowledge of world cultures, traditions and peoples, facilitated by the study of a range of global topics presented in courses from diverse disciplines. 

Outcome: Students will develop sufficient cross-cultural literacy to engage effectively the global community with sensitivity and open-mindedness. Students will demonstrate an understanding of the world's peoples and culture - and of the forces that bring peoples and cultures together - and demonstrate the ability to work collaboratively with people of diverse backgrounds.

Self and Society

Students are required to take three courses in this area: one history course and two courses in different areas of the social/behavioral sciences (psychology and sociology).

Rationale: No woman or man is an island. each life exists within the wider context of the human community. Moreover, the story of each generation finds its place within the ever unfolding saga of the human experience.

Description: Course offerings in this area seek to understand the person within these broad communal and temporal horizons. They examine the reciprocal relationship between the individual and society, situating personal dynamics within a study of the prevailing social, political and economic realities, and a historical understanding of how those factors came to be.

Outcomes: Students will be able to demonstrate familiarity with some basic concepts and methodological principles in at least two of the social and behavioral sciences, and will likewise be able to show that they are conversant with certain essential aspects of the historical method and perspective.

The Mathematical, Physical and Natural World

Students are required to take three courses in this area, including one mathematics course and one lab-science course.

Rationale: Understanding our physical and natural world and the ability to think analytically are core components of being an educated person. Hypothesizing and testing the rules that govern the workings of the physical and natural world are the essence of empirical science. Deducing the rules that govern an abstract construct lies at the heart of mathematics. Together, these processes comprise analysis. These important skills can be applied in other disciplines and other aspects of life.

Description: Course offerings in this area invite students to engage in critical thinking and problem solving in the realm of science and mathematics. These courses will provide students with the skills that will enable them to interact effectively with the physical and natural world of the sciences and the abstract world of mathematics.

Outcomes: Students will be able to use scientific and inquiry methods when working with mathematics and scientific information and use appropriate mathematical and scientific instruments and technology. They will also develop their ability to solve multi-step problems and construct logical arguments and demonstrate a proficiency in organizing, analyzing, synthesizing and evaluating quantitative and qualitative information.

Human Expression

Students are required to take two course in this area.

Rationale: Imagination, resourcefulness and the willingness to understand and communicate the human experience through a variety of perspectives and voices are critical capabilities in the modern age.

Description: Course offerings in this area develop an understanding of humankind through a wide range of literary, cultural and aesthetic expressions. Students will also acquire skills to express themselves artistically and verbally and to appreciate the range of artistic expression throughout the human community.

Outcome: Students will demonstrate an ability to articulate their views and ideas creatively and will develop an understanding and appreciation of the diversity of such creative expressions.

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