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Core Curriculum Learning Goals
Because a liberal education in the Jesuit tradition is oriented toward particular ends, and because the ongoing renewal of the University’s work requires sustained, honest reflection on the ways students appropriate these ends, the Core Curriculum affirms the following central learning goals. Although the goals are divided among three categories—Knowledge, Habits of Mind and Heart, and Engagement with the World—they often overlap, intersect, and imply one another.
Knowledge:To be prepared for well-informed engagement in society, students must comprehend what has shaped the world they have inherited, the evolving ways of understanding it, and how they might transform it for the better. To that end, the Core deepens students’ knowledge of the most profound ideas and ways of knowing that emerge from the arts, humanities, and natural and social sciences. Students develop a greater understanding of:
Habits of Mind and Heart:To contribute to a rapidly changing, complex and interdependent world, students must develop ways of thinking, feeling, and acting that allow them to educate themselves for the rest of their lives with passion and purpose. By attending to the cognitive and affective dimensions of human experience, the Core enables students to think more deeply, imagine more freely, and communicate more clearly. Students learn:
Engagement with the World:To engage the world in meaningful ways, students need opportunities to explore and refine self-knowledge in relation to others. The Core enhances students’ understanding of the integrity of their own lives and the dignity inherent in the lives of others, especially the impoverished, suffering and marginalized. The Core develops students’ capacities for and commitment to:
The Santa Clara Core Curriculum consists of two phases of academic work designed to foster developmental learning and curricular coherence. The first phase, called Foundations, consists of courses normally taken in the first year that introduce students to the process and expectations for university-level education: Cultures & Ideas, Critical Thinking & Writing, and the first course in Religion, Theology & Culture. This phase helps students begin to set their own goals for learning, preparing them to make thoughtful choices in the Core, their majors, and co-curricular activities. The first year is also the most appropriate time for students to maintain the continuity of their education in mathematics and a second language.
The second phase, called Explorations, includes courses that expand students’ understanding of a broad range of knowledge and abilities needed for effective participation in contemporary life. These courses include Ethics, Civic Engagement, Diversity, the Arts, Natural Science, Social Science, a third Cultures & Ideas class with a global focus, and two additional courses in Religion, Theology & Culture.
The Core also includes three components called Integrations. Integrations help students make connections among courses in the Core and between the Core and the major.
Two of the Integrations components will normally be courses that fulfill Core or major requirements. One course in the Core or major must include an experiential learning element focused on social justice. Another course in the Core or major must involve an advanced writing component.
The third Integrations component will be a Pathway, a cluster of courses that allows students to focus and connect their learning within the Core or between the Core and the major. The choice of Pathways and of courses within them is designed to foster active, intentional learning that complements the majors and encourages the application of knowledge in the world.
This Core Curriculum structure is illustrated in a chart, which can be accessed through the link below.