The University Studies Component of an Undergraduate Degree
To graduate with either an associate or bachelor degree, Spalding University requires undergraduate students to fulfill a specific number of credit hours in the humanities, natural sciences and mathematics, social sciences, religious studies, and communication. These general education requirements comprise the University Studies component for all undergraduate degree programs.
In keeping with Spalding University's long tradition, rigorous study across and within academic disciplines fosters a commitment to life-long learning, service, and the promotion of peace and justice among students and faculty. University Studies courses are designed to give students opportunities to practice habits of mind and heart that emphasize the joy of discovery, animate the creative intellect, and promote the development of personal and intellectual competencies needed for success in any chosen profession.
Students will demonstrate knowledge and competency in the following:
- Critical Thinking
- Effective Communication
- Diverse Perspectives on Social and Cultural Issues
- Scientific and Mathematical Skills
- Understanding Values and Religious Beliefs of Self and Others.
Critical thinking is a habit of mind characterized by the comprehensive exploration of issues, ideas, artifacts, and events before accepting or formulating an opinion or conclusion. It can include the ability to identify basic components of explanations, for example, inferences, observations, operational definitions, and interpretations. It can also include the ability to describe and compare competing theories. It results in the ability to organize thought and to construct persuasive arguments for diverse audiences and purposes.
Effective communication involves both oral and written communication. Oral communication is a prepared, purposeful presentation designed to increase knowledge, to foster understanding, or to promote change in the listeners' attitudes, values, beliefs, or behaviors. Written communication is the development and expression of ideas in writing. Written communication involves learning to work in many genres and styles. It can involve working with many different writing technologies, and mixing texts, data, and images. Written communication abilities develop through iterative experiences across the curriculum.
Diverse Perspectives on Social and Cultural Issues
Diverse perspectives on social and cultural issues include the ability to understand cultural issues, historical circumstances, and psychological welfare as they relate to problems in contemporary societies. It can include the abilities to describe and analyze events in their historical and social context, and to understand the repercussions of these events. It also includes the ability to identify diversity both within a single cultural framework (such as within a single religion, social class, political organization, or geographical area) as well as diversity between different cultures.
Scientific and Mathematical Skills
Scientific skills are the general knowledge of natural science as it influences daily living and the ability to read and understand basic scientific writing. It includes an understanding of scientific methods of measurement, and the use of scientific formulas to describe natural phenomena. Mathematical skill is the ability to reason and solve quantitative problems from a wide array of authentic contexts and everyday life situations. It includes the abilities to understand graphic representations, and to solve problems using inductive reasoning, deductive reasoning, proportional reasoning, and spatial reasoning.
Understanding Values and Religious Beliefs of Self and Others
Religious understanding in a diverse world is an awareness of the diversity of religious experiences and the contexts that produce them, as well as the relationship between one’s own religious views and one’s own historical and cultural contexts. Understanding values includes the ability to reason about right and wrong human conduct. It requires students to assess their own values and the social context of problems, recognize ethical issues in a variety of settings, think about how different ethical perspectives might be applied to ethical dilemmas and consider the ramifications of alternative actions. Students' ethical self-identity evolves as they practice ethical decision-making skills and learn how to describe and analyze positions on ethical issues.
Student attainment of these five University Studies competencies is assessed regularly with course-level Student Learning Outcomes from a range of University Studies courses. These five competencies are not specific to any academic discipline, but are habits of mind that run throughout all University Studies disciplines. The course-level Student Learning Outcomes used to assess the attainment of these five competencies can change from year to year, as different courses are identified to assess each competency, and as faculty make changes in their courses based upon prior assessment results.
For all baccalaureate degrees, the minimum number of University Studies hours required is 49. Depending on the major, University Studies requirements may range from 49 hours to 58 hours. Of these University Studies courses, there are 5 specific required courses that must be completed by all bachelor degree programs. These courses are: US 100, ENG 109, ENG 110, COM 201, and MATH 113, or MATH 115 for Natural Science majors. Students in all majors must also complete the following minimum number of hours in these required disciplines: 3 hours in Fine Arts/Theater Arts, 3 hours in Literature, 3 hours in Philosophy, 3 hours in Natural Science, 6 hours in Religious Studies, 3 hours in History, and 6 hours in Social Sciences (which includes African American Studies, Anthropology, Economics, Psychology, History, Sociology, Political Science, Geography, and Social Sciences). Beyond these prescribed minimum hours in these disciplines, students are required to take from 9 to 18 additional hours in University Studies depending on the student’s major. The additional hours are prescribed according to the major to come from these disciplines: Communication/Foreign Language, Fine Arts/Theater Arts, Philosophy, English, Humanities, Natural Science, Mathematics, African American Studies, Anthropology, Economics, Psychology, History, Sociology, Political Science, Geography, or Social Sciences. Courses from a University Studies discipline must be recommended by the faculty in that discipline and approved by the Curriculum Committee. Individual major programs may, with the approval of the Curriculum Committee, specify that certain University Studies requirements must be met by designated courses from the required University Studies discipline.
For all associate degrees, the minimum number of University Studies hours required is 34. Of these University Studies courses, there are 4 specific required courses that must be completed by all associate degree programs. These courses are: US 100, ENG 109, COM 201, and MATH 113. Students must also complete the following minimum number of hours in these required disciplines: 3 hours in Fine Arts or Theatre Arts, 3 hours in Literature, 3 hours in Philosophy, 3 hours in Natural Science (Biology, Chemistry, or Physical Science), 3 hours in Religious Studies, 3 hours in History, and 6 hours in Economics.