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Requirements

The following requirements were adopted at the Block 8 2019 faculty meeting and apply to students enrolling in the 2020-2021 academic year.

THE GENERAL EDUCATION PROGRAM at COLORADO COLLEGE

The General Education program, requiring a minimum of nine blocks of study, calls on students to engage critical learning broadly through three fundamental components: six blocks of Critical Learning across the Liberal Arts; two blocks of Equity and Power; and three blocks of Critical Engagement through Language.  Critical Learning across the Liberal Arts courses fall into six categories: Analysis and Interpretation of Meaning; Creative Process; Formal Reasoning and Logic; Historical Perspectives; Scientific Analysis; and Societies and Human Behavior.  Students may not use a single course to meet more than one Learning Across the Liberal Arts requirement or more than one Equity and Power requirement, and must take and pass all General Education courses with a minimum grade of C- or S, with the exception of CC100.  A maximum of two courses from a student’s chosen major may be used to fulfill the general education requirement. Students who have a double major may use two courses from each major to fulfill the general education requirement.  

Transfer students are not required to take CC100; credit for other General Education requirements will be determined by the Registrar’s Office in consultation with the Committee on Instruction.

First Year Foundations
2 blocks

Taken in a student’s first two blocks of study at Colorado College, these two courses provide an introduction to disciplinary scholarship, the nature of the liberal arts, and learning on the block. In the first block (CC100), students begin to understand the liberal arts as a specific kind of community comprised of various epistemological and methodological cultures. The goal of this class is to help students understand that different fields of study construct and organize knowledge differently, each with its own paradigms and assumptions. The second block (CC120) builds on the outcomes of CC100 to engage students in understanding the relationship between disciplinary practices and writing. The goal of this class is to help students understand that each discipline operates within specific discourse communities each with their own structures, styles, and forms. In doing so, this sequence provides a foundational framework for the work students will undertake throughout the General Education program at CC.

CC100: Critical Inquiry Seminar

Taken during the first block of study at Colorado College, CC100 fulfills both the learning outcomes associated with the CC100 course and the outcomes of one of the Critical Learning across the Liberal Arts categories. CC100 cannot carry designations for Equity and Power or for more than one Learning Across the Liberal Arts category. It is an inquiry- or problem-driven seminar, grounded in the specific disciplinary practices of the faculty teaching the course. While rooted in the disciplines engaged in the course, it is intended to engage students in broader conversations about the nature of scholarly inquiry in the liberal arts.

All incoming first year students are required to take CC100, but they are not required to pass it in order to complete their General Education program.

Curricular goals

  • Provide students with a critical introduction to the liberal arts as a specific kind of community comprised of various epistemological and methodological cultures;
  • Help students understand that different fields of study construct and organize knowledge differently, each with its own paradigms and assumptions;
  • Engage students in broader conversations about the nature of scholarly inquiry in the liberal arts.

Learning outcomes
As a result of taking CC100, students will be able to:

  • Provide examples of ways in which disciplines are rooted in discourses, communities, and/or histories that shape the production of knowledge;
  • Articulate how phenomena may be evaluated by several disciplinary perspectives, each with its own paradigms, methods, and vocabularies;
  • Describe the ways in which particular identity groups have benefited from or been marginalized by disciplinary practices. 

CC120: First-Year Writing Seminar

CC120 Writing Seminars are intended to help students understand the ways that writing is a way of thinking through and about disciplinary content and the ways in which meaning is created and communicated within a discipline. CC120 courses cannot carry any other General Education designations (such as Equity and Power or Learning Across the Liberal Arts). 

In CC120 courses, students will build on concepts of critical inquiry introduced in the CC100 Critical Inquiry Seminar to explore the ways in which disciplinary scholars create and transmit knowledge both within and outside of their fields. This course functions as the second foundational block for an entry to a given discipline, and makes the processes of scholarly production, the structures, and expectations of disciplinary writing visible. These courses, like the CC100 courses, can be inquiry or topic based, where students can use a disciplinary case study to gain skills, habits, and processes that will transfer to courses beyond the foundational.

Curricular goals

  • Examine the contributions of various scholars to a given field, within an established discourse community;
  • Examine disciplinary writing practices as they address audience, purpose, form, and convention;
  • Examine how writing works to construct knowledge and meaning in a given discipline
  • Explore the ways that scholars engage in meaningful/impactful scholarship within a discipline (journals, blogs, news, etc.);
  • Discuss individual and collaborative processes of generating scholarship/writing products;
  • Model/mirror the process of generating scholarship within a discipline;
  • Analyze the various rhetorical approaches to scholarship inside a discipline;
  • Explain the research and inquiry methods that are common to the discipline/field;
  • Participate in the ongoing dialogue of a discipline through various modes of writing and representation;
  • Engage with disciplinary writing as an iterative process that depends upon reflection and revision;
  • Articulate the ways that the approaches to writing differ across disciplines and amongst scholars within those disciplines.

Learning outcomes
As a result of taking CC120, students will be able to:

  • Articulate how writing processes engage, inform, and relate to disciplinary content;
  • Describe disciplinary research practices;
  • Write for the disciplinary audience in the style and form of the discipline.

Optional additional outcome to address an anti-racist curriculum:

  • Articulate how writing in the discipline privileges and advances particular topics and/or voices, while marginalizing or excluding others.

 

Critical Learning across the Liberal Arts
6 blocks, one in each of six categories

A signature liberal arts education for the 21st century will empower students to engage critically a range of experiences, inquiries, and practices, reflecting on their own participation and alternative possibilities. We encourage all students to reflect on inquiry and practices across the liberal arts and bring their general education formation into their curriculum of study in their majors and electives. 

A course may carry designations for up to two Learning Across the Liberal Arts categories; in this case, the student is responsible for indicating which one category they wish to receive credit for.  A course may carry designations for one Learning Across the Liberal Arts category and for Equity and Power (US and/or Global); in this case, the student will receive credit for two requirements, Learning Across the Liberal Arts and one category of Equity and Power (student’s choice, in the case of a course that carries both Equity and Power designations).

Analysis and Interpretation of Meaning

In Analysis and Interpretation of Meaning courses, students will explore the many ways in which meaning is created, developed, contested, and transformed. In these courses, students will analyze and interpret texts, objects, or other forms of cultural expression.

Curricular goals 

  • Students will apply practices of interpretation and critical analysis, such as close reading, to various forms of cultural expression, including texts, music, film, or visual and performing arts;
  • Students will examine how various contexts – including structures of power and knowledge – shape the development, interpretation, and reception of various forms of cultural expression;
  • Students will engage with texts or other forms of cultural expression to explore, contest, and create meaning and value.

Learning goals
As a result of taking a course in Analysis and Interpretation of Meaning, students will be able to:

  • Apply specific theoretical or methodological approaches to interpret, analyze, and/or critically evaluate texts, artistic productions, or other forms of cultural expression;
  • Explain how multiple contexts shape the development and interpretation of texts, artistic productions, or other forms of cultural expression.

Creative Process

Creative process constitutes engagement in the generation and development of novel ideas or productions. These courses are designed to offer students an understanding of principles that underlie creative processes and a meaningful experience of creative work. All courses will involve engagement with critical or contextual frameworks, creative experience, and reflection. While some courses might entail cultivation of a particular art form, other courses might focus on using creative modalities for idea generation and problem solving in any discipline.

Curricular goals

  • Ask students to engage with research, texts or other sources that provide a context for understanding creativity;
  • Involve students in a first-hand creative experience, such as a form or forms of creative expression or problem-solving using creative modalities, and engage processes of collaboration, experimentation, and/or iteration;
  • Provide opportunities for students to reflect on their own creative experiences and connect them to their critical or contextual understanding of creativity;
  • Prepare students to bring knowledge and experience of the creative process to their subsequent courses at CC.

Learning outcomes 
As a result of taking a course in Creative Process, students will be able to:

  • Discuss, in depth, frameworks for understanding the creative process;
  • Reflect meaningfully on what they learned through their creative experiences;
  • Synthesize critical and contextual knowledge with their own experiences in the creative process. 

Formal Reasoning and Logic

Formal reasoning and logic are concerned with the deductive form of argument where first principles or established facts are used to reach a conclusion. Logic, therefore, becomes a tool for seeking answers and set of skills for discerning conflicting statements, opinions and ideas.

Curricular goals

  • Students will learn about the logic of deductive reasoning;
  • Students will learn about the ways in which deductive reasoning guides inquiry;
  • Students will learn how deduction from first principles or established facts guide the development of key ideas or processes in academic disciplines and interdisciplinary areas;
  • Students will gain practice in using tools such as mathematics, computer programs, formal logic, or other such areas to carry out deductive reasoning;
  • Students will reflect upon the methods used in deductive reasoning.

Learning outcomes
As a result of taking a course in Formal Reasoning and Logic, students will be able to:

  • Articulate how deductive reasoning guides inquiry;
  • Explain how key ideas or processes in one or more particular fields are the result of deduction from first principles or established facts;
  • Carry out deductive reasoning using formal logic tools, including but not limited to mathematical modeling, computer programming, or philosophical reasoning traditions. 

Historical Perspectives

This category encompasses many pasts and historical traditions. It encourages an awareness of the diversity of experiences and modes of meaning-making across times and places. Potential topics of consideration include continuity and change, multiple conceptions of time and memory, constructions and critiques of historical narratives, comparative histories, power and agency and the formation of identities, and questions of causality.

Curricular goals

  • Introduce students to the processes and claims of historical inquiry;
  • Examine how historical arguments are constructed;
  • Reflect on the value of historical inquiry and the complex nature of evidence.

Learning outcomes 
As a result of taking a course in Historical Perspectives, students will be able to:

  • Describe one or more processes of historical inquiry;
  • Articulate how historical arguments are constructed;
  • Explain the value of historical inquiry;
  • Evaluate the use of evidence in historical inquiry.

Scientific Analysis

Scientific literacy requires an understanding of how experimentation, data collection, and systematic observations of phenomena are used to formulate and test hypotheses, identify and predict patterns, and explain phenomena and relationships.

Curricular goals 

  • Involve students in the scientific method, including but not limited to formulating a hypothesis, collecting data, and designing a method of testing the hypothesis;
  • Discuss the theories, techniques, and/or research methods of a given discipline;
  • Demonstrate how a given method of experimentation and/or data collection influences interpretations and/or conclusions;
  • Discuss strengths and weaknesses of competing hypotheses given the data available.

Learning outcomes
As a result of taking a course in Scientific Analysis, students will be able to:

  • Formulate a testable evidence-based and/or theory-driven hypothesis;
  • Design an appropriate method of testing an evidence-based and/or theory-driven hypothesis;
  • Carry out experiments, observational studies, and/or data collection using the methods of a given discipline;
  • Use data to evaluate the validity of a hypothesis.

Societies and Human Behavior

Courses in this category encourage students to grapple with social issues in the contemporary world by engaging with empirical, descriptive, and/or interpretive approaches to human interactions. Potential topics of consideration include human behavior, social patterns, cultural phenomena, agency and constraint, and the relationship between individuals and larger social structures.

Curricular goals

  • Introduce students to how to study societies and cultures;
  • Critically discuss the nexus of social structures, individual behavior, and cultural contexts;
  • Encourage reflection on the study of societies and/or human behavior.

Learning outcomes
As a result of taking a course in Societies and Human Behavior, students will be able to:

  • Describe one or more approaches to studying societies and cultures;
  • Explain the value of studying societies and/or human behavior;
  • Describe how social structures, cultural contexts, and individual agents intersect with each other.

Equity & Power
2 blocks

Engaging questions of equity and power, in both U.S. and global contexts, is essential to a liberal arts education. Courses that fulfill this requirement expect students to examine how systems of power create and shape notions of self, relations with others, access to resources and opportunities, and the production of knowledge. In these courses, students develop analytical and interpretive tools and/or reflective habits and interpersonal skills for thinking critically about how inequities are produced, reinforced, experienced, and resisted.

Equity and Power courses may be taken as part of the Critical Learning Across the Liberal Arts categories.

Curricular goals

  • Students will gain an understanding of social, political, cultural, epistemological and/or economic forces that have produced and/or now sustain multiple forms of inequalities and their intersections;
  • Students will identify, analyze, and evaluate the ways in which individuals and groups have unequal experiences, social positions, opportunities or outcomes based on the intersections of race, indigeneity, caste or class, citizenship, gender, gender identity, sexuality, size, (dis)ability, religious practices, belief systems, or other dimensions of difference;
  • Students will seek to identify and challenge their implicit biases and assumptions while learning to participate respectfully and productively in potentially uncomfortable discussions about equity and power and their position in relationship to others.

Learning outcomes
As a result of taking a course in Equity and Power, students will be able to:

  • Describe the relationship between power and inequality;
  • Describe one or more ways that a form of inequality, such as racism, is reproduced over time;
  • Describe how the social identity, historical context, or cultural context of a writer, artists, scientist, or other worker influences the work they do;
  • Describe their own positionality with regard to one or more systems of inequality.

 

Critical Engagement through Language
3 blocks

  • One block of CC120 (see above)
  • Two blocks of Language Study at the College Level

Language Study at the College Level (2 blocks)

Language Study at the College Level develops language skills along with an essential awareness and knowledge of diverse linguistic traditions and cultural contexts.  Language study is a critical means of promoting diversity and inclusion and of understanding a wide range of human experiences, both throughout history and across contemporary societies.

Curricular goals

  • Courses will develop in students an awareness of different linguistic systems and how these systems reflect different worldviews;
  • Courses will introduce students to the challenges to, cultural and linguistic diversity;
  • Courses will teach students to communicate effectively in and engage with the target language.

Learning outcomes
As a result of taking a course in Language Study at the College Level, students will be able to:

  • Describe how elements of one or more worldviews common to a society appear within the language spoken by that society;
  • Articulate the value of cultural and/or linguistic diversity;
  • Demonstrate language skills in one of the following ways:
    • Respond successfully to written prompts in the target language;
    • For spoken languages, respond successfully to spoken prompts in the target language;
    • Express a feeling, thought, or idea in writing in the target language;
    • For spoken languages, express a feeling, thought, or idea orally in the target language.

 

Clarifications

Students who wish to take languages not offered at Colorado College:

The faculty welcomes the study of languages not offered at the College, but like any other course transferred to CC from elsewhere, such courses must be reviewed and evaluated for credit. The interdisciplinary program in Southwest Studies, for example, accepts indigenous languages to satisfy their major requirements.

Students who transfer in one unit of language not offered at Colorado College may take one block of another language offered at the College.