2001 Curriculum Legislation | St. Lawrence University Registrar's Office

2001 Curriculum Legislation

Part II. Distribution and Diversity Requirements

I. Distribution Requirements

As a part of their general education, students will be required to pass at least one (1) unit in courses approved to meet the distribution requirements in each of the following categories:

  • Arts/Expression
  • Humanities
  • Social Sciences
  • Mathematics or Foreign Language

Students must pass at least two (2) units in Natural Science/Science Studies. They may do so by either passing two natural science courses or one natural science course and one science studies course.

  1. The six (6) units used to satisfy the distribution requirements must include courses from at least six (6) different departments or programs.
  2. One unit in natural science/science studies must include a laboratory.
  3. A course can meet the requirements in only one of the distribution categories.
  4. Departments and programs will designate which of their courses will satisfy the distribution requirement, and will submit these designations to the Academic Affairs Committee for approval.
  5. FYP/FYS courses will not satisfy these distribution requirements.

II. Diversity Requirement

As part of their general education, students will be required to pass two (2) units in courses approved to meet the diversity requirement.

  1. The two units used to satisfy the diversity requirement must include courses from two different departments or programs.
  2. Departments and programs will designate which of their courses will satisfy the diversity requirement and will submit these designations to the Academic Affairs Committee for approval.
  3. These Diversity units may double-count with major, minor, and other distribution courses, but not with FYP or FYS courses.

III. Rationales and Definitions for the five (5) categories.

  • Arts/Expression:
    • Rationale: The Aims and Objectives statement includes the goal of expanding aesthetic sensibilities and capacities. Courses in the arts/expression will engage students in the practice of musical, visual, spoken or written forms of expression, thereby encouraging the exercise of the imagination and providing an experience of the rigorous demands of the artist's craft.
    • Definition: Courses meeting this requirement must include an expressive or performativecomponent that is an ongoing and regularly scheduled part of the course, in order to foster active learning through creative expression. The courses should: 1) Provide opportunities for self-conscious reflection on the creative process. 2) Have expressive orperformative components that are an ongoing and regularly scheduled part of the course, making up at least one-fourth of the contact hours of the course. 3) Instruction in skill/craft should occur in a supervised environment, with opportunities for students to have their work responded to and evaluated by the instructor.
  • Humanities
    • Rationale: Among the objectives of a liberal arts education at St. Lawrence University is an understanding of cultures, an ability to think critically, and an expansion of aesthetic sensibilities and capacities. Study of disciplines in the humanities such as literature, history, religion, and philosophy is central to meeting these objectives.
    • Definition: Central to the disciplines in the humanities is a sense of the importance of history to how humans understand, signify, and make meaning of their lives. Histories are constructed through the interpretation of cultural forms, texts, and performances. Therefore courses in this area should engage students in the critical interpretation of traditional and contemporary works of literature, history, political thought, philosophy, religious studies, and the arts, both visual and performing.
      • Courses in this area should:
        • Expand students' awareness of the variety of ways humans understand, signify, and make meaning of their lives; or
        • Develop students' skills of interpretation and analysis, using texts in the broadest sense, written, oral, visual, and performative; or
        • Develop students' awareness of how cultures and the interpretations of cultures change over time; or
        • Expose students to the ways texts, works of art and ideas evolve in dialogue with each other in various traditions of contestation, or
        • Expand students' capacities for aesthetic appreciation and judgment.
  • The Natural Sciences/Science Studies
    • Rationale: The development of an understanding of the natural world is an essential part of a liberal arts education. Because scientific knowledge is incomplete and subject to revision, students should understand the importance of observation and experiment and the roles they play in driving the evolution of scientific ideas. Liberally educated persons should acquire more than a simple awareness and comprehension of natural phenomena, however. Our students will be asked to make political and ethical decisions on environmental and technical issues. Their ability to make sound judgments on such issues depends in part on an understanding of mathematics, natural law and scientific endeavor. It also depends on appreciating the ways by which science and technology influence society and are influenced by society. Further, students should be able to consider how their evaluation of science, whether positive or negative, influences how they evaluate other ways of knowing and how they think about future interactions between human beings and the rest of the natural world.
    • Definition:
      • Natural Science: Courses in this area should address fundamental questions within the natural sciences. In particular these courses should:
        • Develop an awareness of the variety and richness of natural phenomena and, insofar as possible, relate them to everyday experience;
        • Provide a theoretical and quantitative understanding of the processes underlying natural phenomena;
        • Provide a sense of how scientific knowledge is obtained, either through the historical study of its development or by the examination of the experimental or observational evidence upon which it stands.
      • Science Studies: Courses in this area should:
        • Provide students with a sense of how society influences science and science influences society through the study of the history of science, the philosophy of science, or other courses that encourage students to be critically engaged with science rather than passive consumers of scientific knowledge, or
        • Provide students with a sense of the place of humans in the living world.
  • The Social Sciences
    • Rationale: The development of an understanding of social interactions and how economic, political, and social factors affect the lives of individuals and the structure of societies is an essential element of a liberal arts education. In order to comprehend their subject, social scientists often postulate theories about how complex social and political forces operate, and then test those theories against actual events. These theories, or conceptual frameworks, are imaginatively conceived, yet allow us to perceive patterns in experience. In practice, such theories are continually formulated, tested, and then reformulated on the basis of new evidence and fresh insights.
    • Definition: Courses in this area should address fundamental questions within the social sciences. In particular, they should:
      • Develop an awareness of the diverse ways in which economic, political, and social institutions can be organized.
      • Introduce students to the various ways in which evidence about social structures and interactions is acquired and handled.
      • Provide a sense of how social science knowledge is gained through the formulation,testing , and reformulation of theories and hypotheses.
  • Mathematics or Foreign Language
    • Rationale: Mathematics plays a dual role in the liberal arts curriculum. In mathematics reside the foundations of scientific principles and methods: mathematics provides science with its descriptive and predictive powers. Beyond its fundamental place in the sciences, it stands by itself as a universal language and as an art. The study of mathematics develops quantitative reasoning and fosters habits of analytical thought. The study of a foreign language promotes two of the aims and objectives: the ability to read, write, speak, and listen well; and the understanding of another culture. The study of a second language helps "to free the student from the confines of limited personal experience" and also from the confines of the world view expressed in the mother tongue. As the study of mathematics permits an encounter with a "universal language," so the study of a second language permits an encounter with the fundamental grammatical structures which are universal in all languages, thereby fostering the habit of analytical thought. In the study of languages resides the foundation for the study of cultures and epistemologies.
    • Definition:
      • Courses in mathematics should:
        • Address basic ideas and procedures of mathematics in a way that displays mathematics as a universal language and as an art. Material may be approached from a historical perspective but emphasis should be on the development of quantitative reasoning and analytical thought. 
        • Demonstrate how mathematics, through example and application, makes contact with problems encountered in everyday experience.
      • Courses in foreign languages should:
        • Introduce (or at advanced levels deepen knowledge of) the study of a foreign language and, through that language, introduce knowledge about another culture. 
        • Extend the student's capacity to write and speak well in a second language, while attending to grammatical and rhetorical features relevant to languages across the globe.
  • Diversity Requirement
    • Rationale: Liberally educated students must have a basic grasp of the role of such factors as nationality, ethnicity, gender, class, sexual orientation, and religious and cultural preference in the construction of social relations based on notions of difference and sameness. They should develop a habitual respectfulness towards the practices and beliefs of diverse peoples while at the same time acquiring the ability to think critically about those practices and beliefs. They should have a curiosity about the world that extends beyond the boundaries of their own countries of origin.
    • Definition: A course will meet the diversity requirement if:
      • Its primary goal is to engage participants in the critical study of notions of difference and sameness or
      • Its primary goal is to encourage comparative reflection about diverse social and cultural practices and beliefs or
      • Its primary focus is on an aspect of US diversity or
      • Its primary goal is to provide an opportunity for acquiring knowledge about, or reflecting upon, a culture other than that of the United States.
    • Participation in an approved program of study abroad will satisfy one diversity course requirement

Major-Minor requirements

A student who passes a course which fulfills requirements for more than one major or minor may count that course toward any and all of the major or minor programs whose requirements it satisfies.

Implementation schedule

The curricular revisions in part II apply to all students beginning in fall 2001 (the class of 2005).