The LEAD (Learning through Experiential and Applied Discovery) Curriculum at St. Mary’s College of Maryland prepares students to lead here on campus and in their personal and professional lives after graduation. LEAD includes a range of curricular and co-curricular opportunities as well as universal experiences required of all students. Required elements of LEAD include Foundational Study and Advanced Study through a major and a capstone experience.
LEAD starts with a required Core Seminar, taken in a student’s first semester at the College. New students also use their first year to begin their Professional Pathway coursework, and they choose how they will complete their Core Knowledge and Methods requirements (see below). In addition, all new students are strongly encouraged (though not required) to fulfill their Language requirement in their first year, as such courses prepare students to see ideas from different perspectives and to engage with a diversity of cultures and identities in meaningful and respectful ways.
These foundational requirements of LEAD provides students with the fundamental experiences of a liberal arts education by developing skills in the interpretation, expression, and evaluation of information. Through these shared LEAD experiences, students also encounter a breadth of disciplinary content—that is, what we think we know about the world—and a range of methodologies through which such shared understandings are established and debated. Students are asked to consider such debates as they study the relation between cultures and the broader forces that shape identities and inequalities—and when we ask them to make connections between these academic experiences and their career aspirations through courses that intentionally develop their professional literacy.
Universal LEAD Requirements
All St. Mary’s College students complete the following as part of their Foundational Study for LEAD*:
- Core Seminar: New students practice skills of inquiry and communication by completing:
- CORE101 or CORE301
- Core Knowledge and Methods: Students extend their breadth of learning and experience the importance of cultural literacy by completing:
- Language Requirement
- Core Inquiry or Core Exploration
- Professional Pathway: Students establish connections between academic and career preparation by completing:
- CORE-P101, CORE-P102, and CORE-P201
In addition, all students must complete the following Advanced Study requirements for LEAD:
- Academic Major
- Capstone Experience
*Unless specified otherwise, Foundational Study in the LEAD curriculum requires a letter grade with a minimum grade of D to pass; students must, however, maintain a 2.0 overall GPA in order to be in good academic standing.
Through their Foundational Study LEAD requirements, students will:
- Understand how disciplinary methods shape our knowledge of both the human and the natural world.
- Use a variety of tools and methods that support critical engagement with material and effective communication of their ideas.
- Critically analyze the contents and contexts of information and its relevance for a specific purpose.
- Examine the impact of intersecting cultures and identities.
- Transfer their communication, critical thinking, and leadership skills to professional settings beyond the classroom.
Through their Advanced Study LEAD requirements, students will:
- Develop a depth of disciplinary knowledge, methods, practices and principles.
- Synthesize knowledge, methods, practices, and values within, through, or across disciplinary experiences to produce a substantive exploration of a problem, idea, concept, or theory.
- Explain how knowledge, skills, and ethical values developed through their major coursework are applied within the workplace.
Core Seminars introduce students to the campus community and the foundations of inquiry and communication in the liberal arts. The Seminars are overseen by the associate dean of curriculum and taught by faculty from every department; each Core Seminar also includes a peer mentor who supports new students’ learning as well as their transition to the College.In these courses, students will:
- Evaluate textual arguments for their usefulness, cohesiveness, and logic.
- Identify and access relevant information sources.
- Use effective oral expression strategies in making a formal presentation.
- Demonstrate effective written communication with use of revision.
- Participate responsibly and respectfully in informal group discussions.
To satisfy the Core Seminar requirement, students must take either CORE101 (for first year students) or CORE301 (for transfer students who have earned more than 24 credits, excluding AP and IB credits). All students must earn a grade of C- or higher in order to satisfy the Core Seminar requirement. Core Seminars may not be used to satisfy any other LEAD requirement; nor can a Core Seminar be used to satisfy any requirements within a major or minor.
Students who are identified as needing additional support making the transition to college-level writing are also required to take English 101, Introduction to Writing concurrently with a Core Seminar. Student placement into English 101 is determined via a writing sample collected in CORE101 and 301 during the first week of the semester.
Core Knowledge and Methods
All St. Mary’s students are strongly encouraged to begin their language study in their first year. Students must complete one 3- or 4-credit college-level language course at the 102/110 level or higher to satisfy this requirement (see “Determining course level” below).The course must have an ILC or LNG 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 offered at St. Mary’s College of Maryland that are not listed in the course catalog, but that receive a 3- or 4-credit LNG designation at the 102/110 level or higher on a student’s transcript (e.g., courses in Italian, Latin, Thai, among others), may also satisfy the Language requirement. In addition, courses on American Sign Language that develop both proficiency with the language and facilitate cultural explorations of the language tradition fulfill this requirement. Coursework in ASL must similarly be completed at the 102/110 level or higher to satisfy the requirement.
Through coursework that fulfills the Language Study Requirements, students will: Describe aspects of culture in the target language with higher-order intercultural understanding and in conversation with their own world view.
Determining course level:
Students’ scores on the web-based Foreign Language Proficiency Test, taken prior to course registration, will determine their course placement. Placement in courses number 102 or above will fulfill the requirement. Students who place into the 101 level, however, must complete both 101 and 102. Students may also opt to fulfill the requirement by starting a new language at the 101 level and then completing 102. Students must receive a C- or better in their 101-level class in order to proceed to 102.
For example, a student who places into ILCC/ILCF/ILCG/ILCS 101 must take 101 + 102. A student who places into ILCC/ILCF/ILCG 102 or ILCS 110 must take that course. Students who place into a 200 or 300 level course must take the course into which they are placed or begin study in a new language.
Other ways to meet this requirement:
- By providing proof of course work equivalent to a 102 or 110 ILC course at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, in any language at the college level (including languages not currently taught at SMCM); or
- By petitioning the chair of the International Languages and Cultures Department for an exemption, such as by demonstrating native or near-native knowledge of a language other than English (including ASL); or
- By submitting evidence of a score of a 4 of 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 above are still strongly encouraged to continue to develop their proficiency through additional college level coursework and are encouraged to take the FLPT to determine level of placement. Foreign language study through the 201 level is a requirement for selection to Phi Beta Kappa.
Organized around a problem, question, or topic, Core Inquiries consist of four to five thematically-linked courses that let students see how different disciplines intersect with the Inquiry topic. As a result, students gain a clearer sense of how complex issues benefit from a multidisciplinary approach, and they develop a greater awareness of their own agency as learners. By completing the requirements for a Core Inquiry, students fulfill their Core Knowledge and Methods requirements, meeting outcomes in Arts, Cultural Literacy, Humanities, Mathematics, Natural Sciences (with lab), and Social and Behavioral Sciences (see “Core Exploration,” below). They also extend their communication and information literacy skills established in their Core Seminar. Information on current Inquiries and the specific courses they include can be found here [new LEAD Inquiry web page – link]. Inquiries can be configured in the following ways:
- 4 integrated courses through which students complete their Core Knowledge and Methods requirements.
- 4 integrated courses plus one additional, stand-alone course through which students complete their Core Knowledge and Methods requirements.
- 5 integrated courses through which students complete their Core Knowledge and Methods requirements.
In addition, all Core Inquiries culminate in a 1-credit Integrated Learning Portfolio (ILP) completed during the final semester of Inquiry coursework. In their ILPs, students will demonstrate their ability to integrate learning experiences across their Core Inquiry courses by
- Demonstrating the transfer of knowledge between Inquiry classes.
- Showing how connections among disciplinary approaches contribute to their understanding of the Inquiry topic.
ILPs are graded credit/no credit (C/NC). All Inquiries coursework, including the ILP, must be completed two semesters prior to a student’s planned graduation. Students earn 17-22 credits through their Core Inquiry.
Core Knowledge and Methods – Core Exploration
Students who choose not to complete a Core Inquiry must satisfy their Core Knowledge and Methods requirements by taking Core Exploration courses in six areas: Arts, Cultural Literacy, Humanities, Mathematics, Natural Sciences (with lab), and Social and Behavioral Sciences. Courses that satisfy each of the areas, including AP/IB equivalencies, are listed below.
The arts include courses whose primary focus is the practice of artistic creation in dance, film, music, literature, theater, and the visual arts. Courses in the arts examine art as a form of expression, with a focus on students making, writing, or performing artistic creations. By studying the arts, students learn to attend carefully to the structure and details of creative works, to understand these works in their social and historical contexts, and to express their creative and critical intentions clearly and effectively. In these courses, students will: Analyze creative, embodied, and immersive processes in order to understand what makes works of art effective and how to produce effective works, performances, or adaptations of art.
Courses that satisfy this requirement include:
ART 204: Introduction to Drawing
ART 205: Introduction to Visual Thinking
ART 206: Introduction to Painting
ART 208: Introduction to Sculpture
ART 212: Introduction to Photography
ART 214: Introduction to Digital Art
ART 233: Topics in Art
ART 239: Painting and Drawing from Life
ART 269: Community Arts
ENGL 270: Creative Writing
MUSA 180: Choir Ensemble (4 semesters)
MUSA 182: Chamber Singers Ensemble (4 semesters)
MUSA 186: Jazz Ensemble (4 semesters)
MUSA 187: Chamber Instrumental Ensemble (4 semesters)
MUSA 189: Orchestra Ensemble (4 semesters)
MUSA 280: Private Guitar (4 semesters)
MUSA 281: Private Piano (4 semesters)
MUSA 284: Private Brass (4 semesters)
MUSA 285: Private Strings (4 semesters)
MUSA 286: Private Voice (4 semesters)
MUSA 287: Private Percussion (4 semesters)
MUSA 288: Private Woodwinds (4 semesters)
MUSC 112: Music as Communication
MUSC 203: Music Theory I (3)
TFMS 130: Introduction to Performance
TFMS 170: Stagecraft
TFMS 171: Elements of Theatrical Design
TFMS 221: Film and Media Production Modes
TFMS 228: Media Production I
TFMS 230: Acting I
TFMS 250: Movement I
TFMS 255: Modern Dance I
TFMS 258: Dance in History
TFMS 260: Topics in Dance/Movement
TFMS 275: Costumes and Clothes in History
TFMS 280: Topics in Production
Courses or experiences in cultural literacy provide students with the tools to examine the changing nature of social and cultural experiences, and the way we shape and are shaped by culture. By developing cultural literacy, students recognize that practices and traditions are fluid and ever-changing, requiring a long term perspective. Explicit in these courses is the acknowledgement that not all members of a society are the same, and that our experiences are subject to a range of identities.In these courses, students will:
- Examine the effects of inequality on intersecting identity markers such as race, gender, class, age, religion, sexuality, and ethnicity;
- The effects of globalization, migration, trade, and other forces on communities; or
- The changing relationships between communities residing in different social, economic, and physical environments.
Courses that satisfy this requirement include:
AADS 214: Africa and the African Diaspora
ANTH 230: Cultural Anthropology
ANTH 250: Language and Culture
ARTH 223: Introduction to Latin American Art
ARTH 255: Topics in Global Art History
ASIA 200: Introduction to Asian Studies
ENGL 235: Topics in Literature and Culture
HIST 253: Latin American Civilization
HIST 268: Russian Civilization
HIST 280: Africa and the African Diaspora
LNG 102, 201, 202, 205, or 206 courses, if they are not used to fulfill the language requirement
ILCC 102, 201, or 202, if they are not used to fulfill the language requirement
ILCF 102, 201, 202, or 206, if they are not used to fulfill the language requirement
ILCG 102, 201, or 260 courses, if they are not used to fulfill the language requirement
ILCS 102, 201, 202, or 260, if they are not used to fulfill the language requirement
ILCT106: Intro to World Literature
ILAS 206: Introduction to Latin American Literature in Translation
ILAS 210: Latin American Cultural Studies
HIST 253: Latin American Civilizations
MUSC 216: Introduction to the World’s Music
MUSC 223: Topics in Ethnomusicology
MUSC 231: Gender and Music
MUSC 232: Music of the Silk Road
MUSC 233: Music of Latin America
POSC 252: Comparative Politics
POSC 269: International Politics
RELG 221: Islamic Civilizations
RELG 231: Religions and Cultures of India
RELG 232: Religions of Modern India
TFMS 210: Japanese Performance Traditions
TFMS 251: Introduction to Traditional African Dance
In addition to courses designated as satisfying Cultural Literacy, students may fulfill the Cultural Literacy requirement by completing an approved 4-credit, faculty-led study tour or a semester-long study abroad program.
Courses in this category take as their primary objects of study material that presents, or raises questions about, the human condition. They engage with art and ideas, histories and philosophy, values and traditions through close analysis and careful attention to text and context, with the goal of better understanding how others have made sense of the human experience. Courses may consider not just the meaning but the impact of such explanations. In so doing, they help students to reflect on what it means to be human, and how their own human condition has been shaped by earlier efforts to understand humanity. In these courses, students will:
- Use historical, interpretive, or comparative methods to analyze material that engages with ideas, values, traditions, experiences, and histories produced by human societies.
- Revise written arguments to improve their effectiveness for a given audience or rhetorical situation.
Courses that satisfy this requirement include:
ARTH 100: Introduction to Art History
ARTH 220: Rock, Paper, Sword: Media of the Ancient and Medieval World
ARTH 250: Topics in Western Art History
ENGL 106 Introduction to Literature
ENGL130 Topics in Literature
ENGL 204: Reading and Writing in the Major
ENGL 284 Literature in History I: Before 1800
ENGL 285 Literature in History II: After 1800
HIST 104: Historical Foundations of the Modern World to 1450
HIST 105: Western Civilization
HIST 108: History of the Modern World
HIST 200: United States History, 1776-1980
HIST 206: East Asian Civilization
HIST 219: Colonial American Survey
HIST 272: Ancient Mediterranean
HIST 274: Europe, 1815-1914
HIST 276: Twentieth Century World
MUSC 205: The Story of Music
MUSC 217: The Jazz Makers
MUSC 221: Topics in Music History
MUSC 227: Music and Myth
MUSC 228: Music and Art
MUSC 229: Film Music
MUSC 230: Literature and Opera
MUST 200/HIST 264: Introduction to Museum Studies
PHIL 101: Introduction to Philosophy
PHIL 120: Introduction to Ethics
RELG 110: Introduction to the Study of Religions
RELG 210: Biblical Foundations
RELG 211: Speaking of God: Introduction to Theology
TFMS 200: Theater in History
TFMS 106: Introduction to Dramatic Literature
TFMS 220: Introduction to Film and Media Studies
TFMS 225: Topics in Film and Media
WGSX 220: Introduction to Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies
Courses in mathematics introduce students to basic mathematical skills and concepts and to algorithmic or statistical methods in problem solving. Students are expected to learn methods and techniques of problem-solving and to develop facility in the mathematical mode of thinking. In these courses, students will: Use appropriate techniques or principles in order to solve problems and interpret information from a mathematical perspective.
Courses that satisfy this requirement include:
COSC 120: Introduction to Computer Science
ECON 253: Economic Statistics
MATH 131: Survey of Mathematics
MATH 151: Calculus I
MATH 152: Calculus II
MATH 200: Discrete Mathematics
MATH 255: Vector Calculus
MATH 256: Linear Algebra
MATH 281: Foundations of Mathematics
MATH 221: Introduction to Statistics
PHIL 215: Systems of Logic
POSC 200: Scope and Methods of Political Science
Natural Sciences (with lab)
Courses in the natural sciences present major scientific concepts and theories, and teach students to apply investigative methodologies to explore scientific questions. Students will learn to write and speak using the languages of these disciplines. In these courses, students will: Use investigative practices to explore scientific principles.
Courses that satisfy this requirement include:
ASTR 154: Solar System Astronomy
ASTR 155: Stellar Astronomy and Cosmology
BIOL 101: Contemporary Bioscience with Laboratory
BIOL 105 and BIOL105L: Principles of Biology I and Laboratory
CHEM 101. Contemporary Chemistry with Laboratory
CHEM 106: General Chemistry II
ENST 265. Earth Systems
PHYS 104: Basic Physics with Laboratory
PHYS 121: College Physics I
PHYS 141: General Physics I
PHYS 142: General Physics II
PHYS 151: Fundamentals of Physics I
PHYS 152: Fundamentals of Physics II
PHYS 251: Fundamentals of Physics III
Social and Behavioral Sciences
Courses within the social and behavioral sciences take mental processes and behavior—of the individual, in groups, or in societies—as their object of study. They emphasize the use of both quantitative and qualitative research methodologies to examine human behavior and social systems— and the interplay between the two. In these courses, students will: Explain how concepts and methods are used to understand human institutions, behaviors, or mental processes.
Courses that satisfy this requirement include:
ANTH 101: Introduction to Anthropology
ECON 102: Principles of Microeconomics
ECON 103: Principles of Macroeconomics
POSC 100: Introduction to Politics
PSYC 101: Introduction to Psychology
SOCI 101: Introduction to Sociology
As part of the LEAD requirements for Foundational Study, the Professional Pathway formalizes St. Mary’s commitment to the relevance of a liberal arts education, particularly its ability to graduate students who are prepared to be agents in the world. By offering opportunities to integrate their academic experiences and professional development, Professional Pathway– or “CORE-P”– courses give students the opportunity to prepare for their post-graduation lives with intention. New first-year students take CORE-P101 during their first semester and CORE-P102 in their second semester. Students complete their Professional Pathway, by taking CORE-P201 during their second year. Together, these courses prepare students to complete the professional literacy experiences required by their majors, which may include CORE-P301. Completion of the Professional Pathway allows students to take advantage of the Honors College Promise, a guaranteed internship, research experience, or culturally-immersive experience such as a study tour or study abroad.
In CORE-P101: Career Networking and Navigation, students will:
- Identify potential career paths by reflecting on and analyzing their personal experiences, interests, and skill set.
- Demonstrate appropriate professional behavior by engaging in various professional settings with community partners.
- Demonstrate reflective practices on career and major decisions after engaging in professional activities.
In CORE-P102: Career Networking and Navigation II, students will:
- Develop a working career plan through reflecting on and analyzing knowledge of career options, personal experiences, interests, and skill set.
- Create and evaluate responses to behavioral interview questions through engaging in a mock interview program.
- Demonstrate the ability to craft effective communication based on field-specific knowledge and goals.
In CORE-P201: The Honors College Externship, students will:
- Demonstrate personal accountability and effective work habits, e.g., punctuality, working productively with others, and effective time and workload management.
- Explain the impact of non-verbal communication on others’ perception of competence and productivity.
- Use industry standards to accomplish professional tasks as applicable in a given work setting.
- Analyze the impacts of personal and group behavior by engaging in a professional work setting.
In CORE-P301: Closing the Gap, students will:
- Identify the wide range of career options and educational opportunities for chosen concentration, including where and how to seek out meaningful positions.
- Illustrate how to find and make effective use of existing career- and training- related resources in order to achieve professional objectives.
- Describe potential obstacles that might prevent the achievement of specific career goals, as well as how to overcome those obstacles.
Define the parameters and purpose of the project.
Synthesize knowledge gained from coursework, structured co-curricular experiences, and/or individual experience.
Explain the outcome(s) of the project in a well-developed, sustained piece of writing.
Present their work publicly; presentations can take multiple forms (including videos or pre-recorded slideshows, but must include student interaction with the audience regarding the project.
Reflect on their experience in terms of their academic or professional goals.