General Education

Ethical Citizenship for the 21st Century

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    Our General Education Philosophy

    Every university has a General Education curriculum designed to complement the specialized courses in your academic major. At Saint Francis University our general education curriculum helps us remain true to our liberal arts roots and our Franciscan heritage by encouraging you to examine ethical issues, demonstrate global awareness, become actively involved in community service and prepare yourself for lifelong learning.

    Ethical Citizenship for the 21st Century

    Through our General Education program, Ethical Citizenship for the 21st Century, you’ll build for yourself a solid academic base, establish critical thinking skills, a love for learning, and a strong moral foundation—essential tools for your success in today’s world. The program extends beyond the classroom to include lectures, presentations, performances, service projects and other educational activities. The result is an educational experience that is diverse and practical, and at the same time integrated and focused.

    Central Components

    Theatre at SFU Linda from Simple Gifts playing the Violin Drawing Class

    In addition to the General Education curriculum, many activities are infused in a well-rounded program

    For more information

    View the full General Education curriculum in our course catalog. Contact the Office of General Education at 814-472-3149.

    • Community Enrichment Series - A wide-range of cultural events are also integrated into the GEd curriculum as CES credits.  By attending a lecture, concert, theatrical performance, or other select events on campus, students can receive community enrichment credits towards completion of their degree.  Recent events include United Nations senior prosecutor Alphonse Van, award-winning musical duo Simple Gifts, The Princess Parade: A Disney Revue
    • Writing Competency Examination - The writing exam is designed to “assess ability to write a clear, developed, and organized essay”. Passage of the exam is a requirement for graduation, and most students take the WCE in their Junior year.
    • Wellness Initiatives - Students explore the 7 dimensions of health and wellness (physical, social, emotional, environmental, spiritual, intellectual, occupational) while completing a online portfolio of wellness artifacts in the first two years of their education.
    • Summer Reading Program - One of the first activities incoming classes participate in each year is the Summer Reading Program. For the program, we select a meaningful, thought-provoking (and interesting!) book for the campus community. The book is then incorporated into a year-long slate of activities in the classroom and beyond. This year's book: The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls
    • Study Abroad and Service Learning - The General Education program also helps to enhance our study abroad and service learning initiatives through exploration of foreign languages and Franciscan values.
    Program Objectives

    Student in the lab Drumming in Italy Student at Easel

    Values: Develop an understanding of the goals of Franciscan higher education and examine one’s own values in light of those goals.

    • Understand the complexities underlying moral and ethical questions and the consequences of choices we make as individuals and as members of communities.
    • Develop an understanding of the importance of human and cultural diversity.
    • Develop a commitment to life-long learning and to sharing our skills and abilities through community service.

    Skills: Demonstrate skills in communication, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, information literacy, and responsible citizenship.

    • Develop the skills necessary for effective communication in a variety of formal and informal contexts.
    • Demonstrate proficiency in mathematical reasoning and quantitative literacy.
    • Develop critical reasoning skills and abilities.
    • Effectively conduct research using discipline-appropriate materials and methods.
    • Develop the collaborative and leadership skills necessary for exercising the rights and responsibilities of citizenship in a participatory democracy.

    Knowledge: Develop a broad conceptual foundation in various fields of knowledge and make interdisciplinary connections.

    • Demonstrate knowledge in the traditional liberal arts and sciences, with attention to primary source materials, multicultural issues, and interdisciplinary topics.
    • Develop historical perspective across and within disciplines, finding the connections among different ideas, courses, and majors.
    • Develop a conceptual foundation in economic, political, and social systems.
    • Cultivate an understanding of processes and concepts used in science and technology.
    • Develop an appreciation of the visual arts, music, theatre, and literature through creative expression, performance, and analysis of artistic works.
    • Develop an understanding of key elements of personal health and wellness, major health care issues the well-being of communities.
    Thematic Minors

    One of the unique things about the General Education curriculum at Saint Francis is that you can choose to target your general education requirements to earn a "General Education Thematic Minor." Through a fifteen-credit sequence of courses that focus on a common theme related to the Franciscan Mission of Saint Francis University, students may declare that GETM minor and have it listed as such on their transcripts. Topics include:

    • Active Citizenship
    • Global Community
    • Science, Technology, and Society
    • Social Justice and Peacemaking
    • Sustainability and the Environment
    • Utopian and Dystopian Visions
    • Women, Family, and the Community

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