Jun 17, 2024  
2023-2024 University Catalog 
    
2023-2024 University Catalog

*General Education Curriculum


Mission and Outcomes of the RWU General Education Program

The RWU General Education program fosters inquisitive, reflective, and creative learners who use a breadth of knowledge and skills to enrich their personal, public and professional lives. Throughout this program, students will learn how to synthesize information from across their academic experience, to examine the world holistically, appreciate the diversity of their local and global communities, and participate in them effectively and ethically.

To ensure that our program produces such graduates, the RWU faculty asks students, across all four years, to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of diverse human cultures, histories, arts, languages, literatures, and the physical environments on which these depend.
  2. Communicate purposefully, ethically, and effectively in a variety of formats and situations including written, oral, and artistic.
  3. Engage in self-reflection and ethical reasoning.
  4. Synthesize knowledge and make connections within, across, and beyond disciplines.
  5. Learn and employ the literacies and habits of mind that inform the work that we do: information literacy, artistic production and aesthetic appreciation, quantitative literacy, critical inquiry and analysis.

The General Education curriculum at RWU requires a minimum of 40 credit hours.   This  includes a minimum of two Writing courses for a total of six credit hours plus one three credit hour course in each of the five other domain areas of knowing and being: Creativity & the Arts; Global Perspectives; Systems Thinking and the Sciences; Humanities & Social Inquiry; and Quantitative & Mathematical Reasoning.  One of these courses must additionally meet the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion outcomes.  Two out of seven of these courses can have the same prefix as a student’s major.  In addition, all students must take a three credit hour first year seminar and three credit hour senior level seminar course.  Students have two choices to fulfill the remainder of the 40 credit hour requirement.  They can take an additional courses in at least four different domains for a total of an additional 13 credit hours, or complete a minor from the list below.

 

Students may satisfy their General Education requirements by selecting 1 of 2 options:

  • General Education with Minor option
  • General Education without Minor option

General Education with Minor


Students who wish to concentrate their studies in a specific discipline can satisfy part of their general education requirements through completing the requirements below.

  • 1 First Year Seminar course
     
  • 2 Writing Courses
    • WTNG 102 and 1 additional WTNG course at the 200 level or above
       
  • 1 Course from each of the following domains:
    • Quantitative and Mathematical Reasoning
    • Social Inquiry and the Humanities
    • Creativity and the Arts
    • Systems Thinking and the Sciences
    • Global Perspective
       
  • 1 General Education Interdisciplinary Senior Seminar course
     
  • Declare and complete a minor from the list below

American Sign Language Minor  

Anthropology + Sociology Minor  
Applied Mathematics Minor  
Aquaculture and Aquarium Science Minor  
Art and Architectural History Minor 
Biology Minor 
Chemistry Minor 
Chinese Minor 
Communication & Media Studies Minor 
Computer Science Minor 
Creative Writing Minor 
Cultural Studies Minor 
Dance/Performance Minor 
Economics Minor 
Educational Studies Minor 
English Literary Studies Minor 
Environmental Chemistry Minor 
Environmental Science Minor 
Film Studies Minor 
Food Studies Minor  

French Language Minor  
Gender and Sexuality Studies Minor 
Global Communication Minor 
Graphic Design Communication Minor  

German Language Minor  
History Minor  

Italian Language Minor  
Latin American and Latino Studies Minor  

Latin Language Minor  
Marine Biology Minor 
Mathematics Minor 
Music Minor 
Philosophy Minor 
Physics Minor 
Political Science Minor 
Professional and Public Writing Minor 
Psychology Minor 
Public Health Minor  

Spanish Language Minor  
STEAM Education Minor 
Sustainability Studies Minor 
Theatre Minor 
Urban Studies Minor 
Visual Arts: Film, Animation and Video Minor 
Visual Arts: Painting/Drawing/Printmaking Minor 
Visual Arts: Photography/Digital Media Minor 
Visual Arts: Sculpture and Ceramics Minor  

 

General Education without Minor


Each of the domains of knowing and being overlaps multiple different disciplines. Students may choose to broaden their knowledge through further exploration of these domains by enrolling in additional courses that meet the outcomes for four different domains.  Students must take an additional 13 credit hours to meet the minimum 40 credit hour requirement 

Students that chose the General Education without Minor option must complete the following requirements:

  • 1 First Year Seminar course
     
  • 2 Writing Courses
    • WTNG 102 and 1 additional WTNG course at the 200 level or above
       
  • 1 Course from each of the following domains:
    • Quantitative and Mathematical Reasoning
    • Social Inquiry and the Humanities
    • Creativity and the Arts
    • Systems Thinking and the Sciences
    • Global Perspective
       
  • 4 Additional courses which must include 1 course from 4 of the 5 following domains:
    • Quantitative and Mathematical Reasoning
    • Social Inquiry and the Humanities
    • Creativity and the Arts
    • Systems Thinking and the Sciences
    • Global Perspective
       
  • 1 General Education Interdisciplinary Senior Seminar

First Year Seminar


RWU’s first year seminars are designed for and offered to students in their first semester, provide an opportunity to stir your intellectual curiosity and inspire you to question and explore a topic you find interesting with a small cohort of peers.

These courses teach students the habits of mind that will enable them to enter the community of inquiry. All seminars emphasize skills such as critical analysis and information literacy that are essential to life-long learning.  

First-Year Seminars may include field trips, films, guest speakers, workshops, and community service projects. Many of these opportunities are designed for a specific seminar or group of related seminars.

A student in a first-year seminar:

  1. Explores one or more community issues or challenges through academic and/or experiential engagement.
  2. Expresses awareness that one’s attitudes and beliefs may be different from those of other cultures and communities.
  3. Demonstrates awareness of the impact of individual and collective actions on social issues or the public good.
  4. Reflects on learning and growth at various moments throughout the course in order to become aware of your own learning processes
  5. Investigates, questions, and analyzes sources in order to become better practitioners of information literacy
  6. Practices critical inquiry as related to course content (e.g., close reading, logical reasoning, content analysis)

Writing


The Writing Program creates the intellectual atmosphere in which students acquire strategies to write purposefully, incisively and ethically. Introducing students to the contexts for and rhetorical dimensions of writing for academic, professional, and public audiences, the Writing Program helps students  develop a conceptual map of how writing works as both a tool for thinking  and a vehicle for communication. Students read closely and critically; explore rhetorical situations and cultural contexts; and compose texts in a variety of genres and modalities. WTNG courses are scaffolded so students develop competencies in the different domains of knowledge that inform textual production: writing process knowledge, rhetorical knowledge, discourse community knowledge, genre knowledge, and metacognitive knowledge.


Learning Outcomes

Writing Process Knowledge 100-Level

After successfully completing a WTNG course at the 100 level, students can:

  • describe their effective use of multiple stages of writing processes.

Writing Process Knowledge 200-Level

After successfully completing a WTNG course at the 200 level, students can:

  • explain how each stage of their writing process contributes to strengthening their engagement in textual conversations and develops their articulation of ideas.

Rhetorical Knowledge 100-Level

After successfully completing a WTNG course at the 100 level, students can:

  • Identify the ways in which specific audiences influence a writer’s  purpose,  genre, evidence, and style.

Rhetorical Knowledge 200-Level

After successfully completing a WTNG course at the 200 level, students can:

  • Apply their knowledge of purpose, genre, evidence, and style effectively when addressing academic, professional, and public audiences

Genre Knowledge 100-Level

After successfully completing a WTNG course at the 100 level, students can:

  • Recognize different patterns of writing and describe the basic features of common public and academic written genres and how they relate to how writing works

Genre Knowledge 200-Level

After successfully completing a WTNG course at the 200 level, students can:

  • Apply genre knowledge to compose texts across a range of public, professional, and academic audiences

Discourse Community Knowledge 100-Level

After successfully completing a WTNG course at the 100 level, students can:

  • Recognize evidence of community identity in particular genre conventions, rhetorical situations, and writing processes.

Discourse Community Knowledge 200-Level

After successfully completing a WTNG course at the 200 level, students can:

  • Analyze and evaluate the relationship between identity and writing within and across particular academic, professional, and public communities.

Metacognitive Knowledge 100-Level

After successfully completing a WTNG course at the 100 level, students can:

  • Explain how academic writing works by reflecting on their knowledge of at least two of the writing program knowledge domains.

Metacognitive Knowledge 200-Level

After successfully completing a WTNG course at the 200 level, students can:

  • Explain how their awareness of audience, purpose, rhetorical situation, and prior writing experience(s) informs their specific writing choices and facility in thinking like writers.

Creativity and the Arts


Courses in Creativity and the Arts will examine the nature of art and the creative process through which various art forms how are structured and constructed.  These courses will help students appreciate the importance of the arts as expressions of the cultural values of society and the human condition.  Students will demonstrate a capacity to observe, connect, synthesize, transform, and express ideas and concepts through art making.  Students will create and understand original work intended to convey a idea perspective or feeling through a process of feedback, reflection and refinement.

 

A student in a Creativity and the Arts course:

  1. Creates an original artistic work through a process of feedback, reflection, and refinement.
  2.  Becomes conversant in and apply the terminologies, techniques, practices, knowledge, and skills of the creative process particular to a specific artistic practice.
  3. Engages in analytical and critical processes for interpreting and/or evaluating artistic work.

Global Perspectives


Courses in the Global Perspectives domain develop student’s capacity to be informed, unbiased and ethical global citizens who are open to diverse perspectives and able to address the world’s most pressing issues collaboratively, equitably, and sustainably. Students will draw on historical and contemporary resources as well as marginalized narratives. These courses will help students understand the dynamics of global systems, to appreciate our interconnectedness, and to be more, open, self-aware, and engaged citizens of the world.


A student in a Global Perspectives course:

  1. Demonstrates an understanding of the complex and diverse global systems (social, cultural, economic, health, legal, political, and technological) and their relationship to the natural world (environmental and physical).
  2. Analyzes how these systems are structured, influenced, and altered by identifying the differential (inequitable) consequences of decisions and how they shape the lives of people around the world.
  3. Critically examines differing perspectives and experiences to understand diverse cultures (including but not limited to class, ethnicity, gender, language, nationality, race, and religion).
  4. Applies knowledge of global issues using cultural humility and ethical engagement to contribute to society at multiple levels - locally, regionally, nationally, and globally.

Quantitative and Mathematical Reasoning


Courses in Quantitative and Mathematical Reasoning will develop and hone student’s abilities in critical thinking, problem solving, and effective communication as they relate to both abstract and real-world problems. Students will cultivate and demonstrate reasoning skills needed to to transform elements of a quantitative or mathematical problem or argument into a defined system of conceptual equivalents which are then manipulated in accordance with principles or rules of mathematical or logical operation.

A student in a Quantitative and Mathematical Reasoning course:

  1. Develop and apply the principles and skills of quantitative and mathematical reasoning to solve problems using a system of numeric or symbolic concepts as encountered in the fields of mathematics and logic; here, the formulation, interpretation, and application of quantitative and mathematical models and methodologies is integral in solving both abstract and real-world problems.
  2. Utilize mathematical and deductive reasoning to analyze and formulate logical and coherent quantitative and mathematical arguments; here, conjectures through abstraction are formulated and algorithms, definitions and theorems are synthesized to address quantitative and mathematical problems.
  3. Formulate ideas in mathematical language and explain quantitative and mathematical concepts using appropriate and clear written and oral presentation.

Social Inquiry and the Humanities


This area explores how people’s lives are connected to systems of politics, culture, and media. These systems confer varying levels of power within societies and employ representations that reflect and produce people’s experiences. Developing skills to critically analyze and critique cultural artifacts, this domain seeks to cultivate ideas of curiosity, empathy, and socially conscious ways of being in the world. Upon completion of the course, students will be able to explain and evaluate key concepts from primary source materials, while exploring intersections of agency and identity within larger social and cultural systems.  Cultural productions examined in this area might include political institutions, literature, philosophical inquiry, cultural artifacts, historical sources, embodied / experiential sources, space and place, social movements, and collective behavior. 

A student in a Social Inquiry and the Humanities course:

  1. Develops essential skills for humanistic, social, and cultural inquiry such as critical reading, self-reflection, empathic imagination, ethical reasoning, and the ability to analyze and participate in diverse perspectives.
  2. Analyzes systems and texts that shape and reflect diverse individual and cultural identities (race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, ableism, etc.) and relations of privilege and power.
  3. Identifies ways that humanistic, social, and cultural inquiry can be harnessed to advance equity and social justice in communities and institutions

Systems Thinking and the Sciences


Systems thinking based classes will introduce students to the models needed to understand, evaluate, and predict the behavior of complex natural and/or social phenomena involving many interconnected parts.  Concepts included in the course could include correlation, causality, feedback, nonlinearity, pattern formation; as well as appropriate actions to sustain efficient relationships or to create desired changes in these systems.  They will also learn to appreciate that a diversity of perspectives is required for understanding relationships in a complex system.  These courses will illustrate how diverse perspectives are needed to understand intricate, interconnected networks.

A student in a Systems Thinking and the Science course:

 

  1. Identifies how fundamental scientific principles and methods can be used to enhance our understanding of the complex systems that influence the natural and/or social world and their behaviors and interactions.
  2. Identifies causes and potential solutions to problems associated with the interaction between human society and the natural world using systems thinking.
  3. Applies existing systems thinking based models to complex natural and/or social phenomena, explain the models’ underlying assumptions, and justify the application of those models to the system.

 

General Education Interdisciplinary Senior Seminar


Prerequisites: Completion of two writing courses and one course in each of the five area domains; at least sixth semester standing.

Should students choose to enroll in additional CORE Seminars, credit earned may not be applied to satisfy any requirement in the major, minor, or CORE Curriculum.


Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI)


General education courses will develop students’ intercultural fluency, community knowledge and civic agency. Rather than a separate course, courses meeting these outcomes are courses used to also meet the outcomes of one of the six domains.  

A student in a DEI course:

1. Identifies patterns of subconscious and conscious bias and stereotyping. 

2. Demonstrates an awareness of differences in positionality, privilege, power, and access and takes an inventory of one’s own place in society. 

3. Poses fact-based questions about what can be learned from a diversity of perspectives. 

4. Examines the historical and social conditions that lead to systemic inequities in communities and institutions 

5. Proposes strategies based on that examination that would positively impact a given community and advance the public good.