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Core Curriculum
Contact Information

Please contact us at corecurriculum@smcm.edu

Elizabeth Nutt Williams, Ph.D.
Dean of the Core Curriculum and First Year Experience
St. Mary's College of Maryland
18952 E. Fisher Rd.
St. Mary's City, MD 20686

Phone: (240) 895-4467
Email: enwilliams@smcm.edu


Ruth Feingold, Ph.D
Assistant Dean of the Core Curriculum and Advising Program
(contact for Experiencing the Liberal Arts in the World)

Phone: (240) 895-4388
Email: rpfeingold@smcm.edu


Administrative Assistant:
Diane Wimberly
Phone: (240) 895-2185

Fax: (240) 895-2234

CORE CURRICULUM OVERVIEW

The goal of the Core Curriculum is for students to

  • engage in and articulate the value of creative and intellectual exploration;
  • use multiple modes of inquiry, resources, and knowledge from multiple disciplines to ask questions, identify issues, and solve complex problems both within and across disciplinary boundaries;
  • develop an openness to diversity in all its forms and demonstrate social responsibility and civic mindedness;
  • learn about the global community and environmental stewardship; and
  • hone the fundamental liberal arts skills of critical thinking, information literacy, written expression and oral expression across a variety of disciplinary boundaries

I) Introduction to the Liberal Arts Liberal Arts Seminars

The Liberal Arts Seminars, an integral part of the Core Curriculum, introduce students to the campus community, liberal arts culture, and the excitement of intellectual inquiry. The seminars are overseen by the Dean of the Core Curriculum and First Year Experience and taught by faculty from every department. First-year students will take CORE101, and transfer students (entering with more than 24 credits) will take CORE301.

The First Year Seminar (CORE 101 a 4-credit course offered each fall) serves as the gateway course to the honors college. The Seminars will encourage students to engage deeply with an intellectual topic through exercising the four fundamental liberal arts skills (critical thinking, information literacy, written expression, and oral expression). Multiple sections of this course will focus on a wide variety of topics.

Inquiry in the Liberal Arts (CORE 301 a 2-credit course offered each spring) is designed for students transferring to St. Marys College of Maryland with more than 24 credits and will focus on the four fundamental liberal arts skills (critical thinking, information literacy, written expression, and oral expression) and emphasize their importance for a broad grounding in the liberal arts.

 

II) International Languages

Students will take one 3- or 4-credit international language course beyond their entering level of proficiency, as determined by their score on the Foreign Language Placement Exam. The course must have an ILC designation, such as courses listed in the St. Mary's College of Maryland course catalog (e.g., ILCC [Chinese], ILCF [French], ILCG [German], and ILCS [Spanish]). Courses not listed in the St. Mary's College of Maryland course catalog but that receive a 3- or 4-credit ILC designation on a student's transcript (e.g., courses in Italian, Latin, Thai, among others) may also satisfy the International Languages Core requirement.

Students may also meet the requirement by transferring in foreign language coursework from another college, by petitioning for an exemption based on native knowledge of a language other than English, or by submitting evidence of a score of a 4 or 5 in an AP foreign language exam or a minimum score of 5 in an IB/HL exam in a foreign language.  Students who have already satisfied the International Languages requirement, as detailed in the previous sentence, are still strongly encouraged to continue to develop their proficiency through additional college level work.


III) Liberal Arts Approaches to Understanding the World

Students must take one course from each of the following six areas:

  1. Arts
  2. Cultural Perspectives
  3. Humanistic Foundations
  4. Mathematics
  5. Natural Sciences with laboratory
  6. Social Sciences

The purpose of this requirement is to introduce students to academic disciplines central to the liberal arts and sciences (including the particular approaches and assumptions of these disciplines), as well as to reinforce breadth and diversity of experience.

(Please consult the current  course catalog for the list of specific courses offered in the above areas.)

IV) Experiencing the Liberal Arts in the World.

The goal for students as they complete this final element of the Core Curriculum is to bridge the gap between their academy and the world beyond, transcending the theory-praxis divide and giving extra meaning to their academic courses by applying their developing knowledge base to life experiences outside the boundaries of the college campus.

This requirement can be satisfied in a variety of ways, including through a study abroad program, an independent study (with a community focus), an experiential learning course, or an internship experience. Each option, as part of CORE350 (see below), requires that students a) engage in activity off campus or that has an off-campus focus, b) keep a journal detailing their experiences and their developing understanding of the relationship between their academic course work and their activity, and c) produce a reflective product that synthesizes what they have learned about themselves and the intersection of academic and practical knowledge. Before completing this requirement, students should either have attained junior standing, completed their other Core requirements, or received approval by the Dean of the Core Curriculum and First Year Experience to complete the requirement prior to the junior year.

Students will enroll in CORE350 (a zero-credit course) during the semester in which they engage in the experience they are using to satisfy the Experiencing the Liberal Arts in the World requirement. They will register for one of nine sections that delineate the type of experience the student is using to complete the requirement. Experiencing the Liberal Arts in the World Learning Contracts must be submitted to the Dean of the Core Curriculum by the end of the first week of the Add/Drop period at the beginning of each semester. The form is available here .

The experience that the student chooses to participate in to satisfy the Experiencing the Liberal Arts in the World requirement must carry the equivalent course credit of at least 4 credit hours. Students participating in a study tour that carries less than 4 credits could concurrently enroll in an independent study. If a student wants permission from the Dean of the Core Curriculum and First Year Experience to take CORE350 while completing a summer work or research experience of at least 160 hours (the equivalent of a 4 credit internship of 10 hours per week for 16 weeks) in order to meet the goals of the Liberal Arts in the World requirement, that student must submit a learning contract to the Dean of the Core Curriculum and First Year Experience by the end of the spring semester final examination period; students will submit their CORE 350 journal and reflective piece to the Dean of the Core Curriculum and First Year Experience by the end of the first week of the fall semester following the summer work or research experience. To see examples of reflective pieces, click here.

To see examples of reflective pieces, click here.

(Please consult the current  course catalog for additional details.)