University of Maine at Farmington 2014-2015 Catalog
 
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Catalog Program Academic Policies
General Education
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Philosophical Statement

A liberal arts education liberates individuals from the particularity of their pre-college lives and provides entry into larger communities, both intellectual and social. At the same time, a liberal arts education liberates students to find their way in a complex, interconnected world both as individuals and as members of various communities. A liberal arts education combines the discovery of new perspectives with the acquisition of core knowledge and transferable skills to empower students to be successful in a rapidly changing world. In the end, a liberal arts education offers what life post-college in a global world demands: the capacity to negotiate the tension between personal freedom and social responsibility.
 
Thus, a liberal arts education liberates and empowers. Whereas a student's major empowers him/her to master a specific discipline and excel within the context of a particular field, the role of General Education in a liberal arts education is to liberate and empower the student as a citizen and inquirer in the broader world.

Learning Goals

In order to fulfill the above mission, Farmington's General Education Program provides a means for students to achieve the following goals:
 
(Note: All general education courses will address Goals 1 and 2)
 
 
1.  Critical Thinking and Decision Making

Goal: Students as critical thinkers will use others' ideas in order to continue their own thinking process and to make informed decisions.
 
Outcomes:
 
a. Students will be able to fluidly combine a variety of intellectual procedures, including categorizing, comparing and contrasting, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating, as a way of understanding a subject through close examination of it and what others say about it.   
 
b. Students will be able to evaluate the validity of support for claims, reference these to general principles where appropriate, and generate responses to others’ ideas that go beyond simple agreement or disagreement, including suggestions for revisions, implications, and further questions. 
 
c. Students will be able to use others’ ideas to continue their own processes of thinking. 
 
d. Students will be able to use a broad range of information research strategies and to evaluate considerations common to all forms of inquiry.
 
e. Students will regularly practice fact gathering as a means of pursuing informed judgment.
 
 
2. Reading, Writing, and Speaking

Goal:Students will read, write and speak effectively both as a means of communication and in pursuit of knowledge.
 
Outcomes:
 
a. Students will be able to read and interpret a broad range of texts, including difficult texts, where their interpretations shall be clear, coherent, and well grounded in the text.
 
b. Students will be able to write clear, coherent, well-organized documents with nearly flawless mechanics.
 
c. Students will be able to formulate and defend a thesis.
 
d. Students will be able to recognize different written forms and be able to adapt their writing to accommodate such forms (as in the various forms of papers in different disciplines).
 
e. Students will be able to use writing as a mode of gaining access to, interpreting, and reflecting on the knowledge that evolves through their personal, academic, and discipline-specific experiences.
 
f. Students will be able to listen and speak effectively in a discussion group and to present their work to audiences.
 
 
3. Commitments to Health and Wellness
 
Goal: Students will be well prepared to act responsibly as advocates for lifelong health and wellness.
 
Outcome:
 
Students will demonstrate knowledge and engage in activity conducive to health and wellness. (Students will use the Health and Fitness center, or engage in other physical activities.)
 
 
4. Interdisciplinary Thinking
 
Goal:  Students will be able to think and work across disciplinary boundaries.
 
Outcomes:
 
a. Students will be able to apply something learned in one disciplinary or discursive context to other contexts or create new contexts. 
 
b. Students will be able to synthesize facts and ideas learned in different contexts to create a unified whole.
 
c. Students will be able to draw on material from different disciplines in their exploration of a single question over more than one semester.
 
 
5. Disciplines as Modes of Inquiry
 
Goal: Students will develop a broad base of knowledge in several disciplines and be able to evaluate and critique disciplinary perspectives.
                                                                         
Outcomes: 
 
a. Students will be able to understand and contribute their own thoughts in the language, methods, and concepts of disciplines in the arts, humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, and mathematics.
 
b. Students will be able to apply disciplinary processes, language, and concepts, to real questions or problems.

c. Students will be able to understand the historical significance and power to reveal knowledge of several disciplines.

d. Students will be able to think critically about  disciplinary claims, both for their value as knowledge and in the context of ethical, political, social and environmental issues.
 
 
Distribution-Specific Outcomes:
 
(Note: All Distribution courses will address Goal 5. Although courses in different disciplines may satisfy the outcomes for Goal 5 in different ways, there will be some ways of addressing those outcomes specific to each distribution requirement. These distribution-specific outcomes are listed below.)
 
Humanities:
 
After completing an “H” course, students will:
 
a. be able to demonstrate their abilities as careful sensitive readers by interpreting, annotating, and/or otherwise discussing the significance of texts or linguistic artifacts from the course;
 
b. have developed their abilities as writers and/or their awareness of their strengths and weaknesses as writers as a result of course assignments and feedback from the instructor;
 
c. be able to demonstrate their awareness of the relation between language and meaning by discussing the significance of texts or linguistic artifacts from the course in a knowledgeable way;
 
d. be able to demonstrate their knowledge of the structure of language and/or the structure of texts or linguistic artifacts by analyzing examples from course materials in detail.
 
 
________________________________________________________________
 
Math:
 
After completing an “M” course, students will:
 
a. be able to demonstrate fluency in the language of mathematics, including mathematical operations, abstraction, and nomenclature;
 
b. be able to apply appropriate mathematical problem solving techniques and critically evaluate mathematical claims and solutions in both academic disciplines and their day-to-day lives;
 
c. be able to articulate the relevance of mathematical methods and models to the foundation and expression of ideas in a variety of disciplines.
 
d. be able to evaluate quantitative information critically.
 
 
________________________________________________________________
 
Arts:
 
After completing an “A” course, students will:
 
a. Either
 
i)   (in performance/practice courses) be able to sustain a critical engagement with the formal,  technical and conceptual languages of an artistic medium or practice and employ current interpretive methodologies and technical/practical approaches, or
ii)  (in history/theory courses), be able to employ current critically interpretive and/or investigative methodologies and write critically and persuasively using specific vocabulary of the discipline;
 
b. (in performance/practice courses) be able to apply problem-solving strategies and an applied understanding of intertextuality;
 
c. (in history/theory courses) have a strong, consistent, historically and theoretically informed critical voice.
 
 
________________________________________________________________
 
Natural Sciences:
 
After completing an “N” course, students will:
 
a. be able to articulate an understanding of the scientific process, both in terms of its underlying philosophical perspective and its practical methods and applications;
 
b. be able to demonstrate a practical understanding of the scientific  process including the abilities o
i.)      developing hypotheses and making predictions about the natural world
ii.)     designing experiments and making observations to test hypotheses
iii.)    critically evaluating results and drawing conclusions
iv.)    communicating findings in a scientific manner;
 
c. be able to distinguish science from non-science;
 
d. be able to articulate (a) the importance of science in the 21st century, and (b)  an understanding of the place of science among other disciplines between science and society (i.e. the importance of science in context).
 
 
________________________________________________________________
 
Social Sciences:
 
After completing an “S” course, students will:
 
a. be able to demonstrate an understanding of social science methods for exploring the causes of human behavior and the origins and functions of the social structures in which we operate;
 
b. be able to apply theory and research from the social sciences to discipline-specific issues and questions;
 
c. be able to demonstrate cognizance of the value, advantages, limitations and distinctiveness of the social sciences. This could include an understanding of:
--the nature and limits of objectivity,
--the provisional status of knowledge in the social sciences, and
--the social sciences’ distinctiveness from the natural sciences and humanities.
 
 
 

Requirements

First Year: Both of the following, in consecutive semesters:
 
FYS 100 First-Year Seminar (4 cr)*
 
ENG 100 First-year Writing Seminar (4 cr) (C- or higher required)
 
*Transfers entering with 16 or more credits are exempt from the First-Year Seminar requirement (FYS 100). Transfers matriculating in January with 8 or more credits, but still needing ENG 100, should take ENG 100 in the first semester; they are then exempt from the First-Year Seminar requirement (FYS 100).
 
Physical Activity Requirement - All students (including transfer students) must sign up for and participate in a physical activity (PHE 010, 0 cr) at the Health and Recreation Center. Students are strongly encouraged to take PHE 010 during their first year at UMF.
 
Distribution Courses: Seven courses, appropriate for non-majors and generally not carrying a prerequisite, found in the course catalogue with a distribution designation following the course number: A for Arts, H for Humanities, M for Math, N for Natural Science, S for Social Science. (Distribution requirements fulfilled by Honors courses are announced when the courses are offered.)
 
Arts (4 cr): One course (art, art history, dance, music history, theatre)
 
Humanities (4 cr): One course (English literature, foreign language, philosophy, religion)
 
Math (4 cr): One course
 
Natural Sciences (8 cr): Two laboratory science courses in two different disciplines (biology, chemistry, environmental science, geology, physics)
 
Social Sciences (8cr): Two courses in two different disciplines (anthropology, economics, geography, history, political science, psychology, sociology, women's and gender studies)
 
Open Course (4 cr): In addition to the above, students must take 4 more credits outside their major in either Health or in any Arts and Sciences discipline in order to reach a total of 40 credits. These credits may be from courses which do not have a capital letter distribution following the course number.
 
 
Foreign Language Requirement: Students enrolled in Bachelor of Arts programs must have passed either two years of one foreign language in high school or two semesters of one foreign language at the college level. In addition, specific majors may have more stringent requirements; see the program description in the catalogue. 
 
Can a course count for both General Education and the Major? Courses in the primary discipline of a major may not be used to fulfill general education requirements. Some required courses for a major may be outside of the primary discipline and these courses may be used to fulfill general education requirements. There are also exceptions for ENG 100 and mathematics. If you have any questions your academic advisor will be able to assist you.             
 
Transfer Course Evaluation: For transfers, transcript analysis done at the time of matriculation at UMF will determine which of the Distribution  requirements have already been met. Transfers might need to do more "Open" General Education coursework in order to reach the 40 credit minimum (e.g. to offset their exemption from FYS 100 and/or their transferring in distribution courses that were worth 3 credits at their former institutions).
 
Students transferring to UMF seeking a second degree after having earned a bachelor’s degree at another institution must satisfy both the requirements for their new major and UMF’s residency requirements, but are not required to satisfy the UMF general education requirements.
 
 

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