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Learning Goals and Objectives for General Education at Sonoma State University

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GE AREA A

Area A studies provide students with foundational concepts and experiences that are vital to human communication and critical thinking. These studies encourage the coherent and sequential development of an intellectual practice through active engagement with and analysis of language.

Overall Area A

  1. Appreciate and critically analyze cultural works, ideas, and arguments from a variety of communities in a variety of media.
  2. Confront various philosophical ideas and traditions in order to grow intellectually.
  3. Learn how to exercise their social responsibilities as communicators of ideas within various discourse communities.
  4. Practice oral and written expression of clear, eloquent arguments that engage with opposing views.
  5. Develop an intellectual practice that values language, philosophical rigor, and communication in the widest sense.
  6. Develop their abilities to find, evaluate, synthesize, and present information ethically.

Area A2: Fundamentals of Communication

  1. Critically read, analyze, and evaluate a variety of non-fiction and academic texts from a variety of disciplines, focusing on rhetorical strategies and an understanding of audience, purpose, and context.
  2. Write well-developed, well-organized texts in multiple genres and media, including thesis-driven arguments; address an audience appropriately and use a variety of rhetorical effects to enhance cogency and clarity.
  3. Develop research skills: find, select, analyze, and evaluate outside sources; integrate the ideas of others into texts that express the writer’s own position. Understand the ethical uses of sources of all types, and use appropriate documentation format in writing and in multimedia presentations.
  4. Employ a variety of sentence structures and organizational patterns to illustrate clearly the logic of ideas. Revise and edit written assignments, demonstrating a command of syntax, appropriate diction, and the mechanics of Standard English.
  5. Practice presenting persuasive oral arguments; develop active listening skills in order to interpret, evaluate, and engage critically with new ideas.

Area A3: Critical Thinking

  1. Engage critically with ideas and analyze and evaluate modes of reasoning, such as, scientific, rhetorical, inductive and deductive.
  2. Identify and evaluate unstated assumptions in a variety of media.
  3. Produce coherent, original and persuasive arguments that provide evidence in support of a thesis.
  4. Develop verbal and non-verbal skills for making persuasive oral arguments and presentations.
  5. Develop active listening skills.
    Old Area A1
  1. Demonstrate effective communication with various audiences through oral and written rhetorical skills.
  2. Practice verbal and non-verbal skills in presenting persuasive oral arguments.
  3. Develop ethical responsibility as a researcher, public speaker and writer.
  4. Develop active listening skills in order to interpret and evaluate arguments and to engage critically with new ideas.
  5. Engage in the collaborative practice and study of discourse in critical and informed ways

Old Area A2

  1. Critically read, analyze, and evaluate a variety of non-fiction and academic texts from a variety of disciplines, with a consideration of rhetorical strategies and an understanding of audience, purpose, and context.
  2. Write well-developed, well-organized texts in multiple genres, taking into account the audience’s needs and assumptions, and using a variety of rhetorical effects and effective revision strategies. In particular, write an argumentative essay with a debatable thesis and persuasive support.
  3. Find, analyze, interpret, and evaluate outside sources, demonstrating the ability to integrate the ideas of others (through paraphrase, summary or
    quotation) into papers that express the writer’s own voice, position, or analysis.
  4. Understand the ethical uses of sources of all types, and use appropriate documentation format.
  5. Compose texts that demonstrate a variety of sentence structures and organizational patterns, illustrating clearly the meaning, relationship, and logic of
    ideas.
  6. Revise and edit written assignments, demonstrating a command of syntax, appropriate diction, and mechanics of Standard English.
Old Area A3
  1. Identify, analyze, and evaluate inductive and deductive reasoning and recognize the difference between argument and opinion.
  2. Find and state crucial unstated assumptions in reasoning.
  3. Independently and collaboratively produce and communicate coherent original arguments that include testable hypotheses and persuasive arguments void of fallacies.
  4. Identify and compare defining characteristics of scientific arguments and arguments in other major genres such as rhetorical, mathematical and statistical reasoning.
  5. Evaluate, synthesize and acknowledge credible and relevant sources in oral and written arguments as responsible members of the academic community.

AREA B

In natural sciences, humans use their perceptions and quantitative reasoning to discover the principles and rules that govern how the universe works. Courses in this area of general education examine important theories of the natural sciences, and methods and models by which scientific investigation proceeds. They also seek to increase scientific understanding and to imbue students with the sense of curiosity and wonder about the natural world that inspires scientists and mathematicians in their work.

Overall Area B

  1. Develop knowledge of scientific theories, concepts, and data about living and non-living systems.
  2. Understand how the scientific method is used to develop scientific principles and interpret evidence.
  3. Appreciate the value systems and ethics associated with scientific inquiry, and the potential limits of scientific endeavors.
  4. Demonstrate understanding of the scientific method through laboratory exercises.
  5. Read and understand mathematical arguments and data, and use mathematics effectively to analyze and solve problems that arise in ordinary and professional life

Area B1

  1. Gain an understanding of the fundamental laws and principles governing the behavior of the physical world.
  2. Understand the physical world through interpretation of results from experimentation and/or observation.
  3. Learn that there are interactions between matter and energy and use this knowledge to understand physical, chemical, or geological phenomena.
  4. Develop a basic understanding of physical matter and the scientific method so that they can apply this understanding to more complex systems.

Area B2

  1. Explore the biology of humans, including reproduction, growth, development and health.
  2. Understand the basis of genetic inheritance and its implications for individuals and populations.
  3. Examine biological evolution and the diverse sources of evidence that support it.
  4. Exhibit an appreciation of the origin, distribution and maintenance of biological diversity and the impacts of human activities on the natural world.
  5. Understand the hierarchical organization of life and the relationships between biological structure and function.

Area B3

  1. Improve their understanding of the concepts and theories of science and technology.
  2. Understand the interconnected and every-changing relationships among the natural, physical, and technological sciences
  3. Critically assess the social and ethical implications of science and technology in relations to their daily lives.
  4. Improve problem solving and critical thinking skills through application of scientific knowledge using hands-on activities.

Area B4

  1. Improve their problem-solving skills and logical and critical thinking.
  2. Appreciate the beauty and power of mathematics.
  3. Understand and appreciate the role of mathematics in our society and culture, today and in the past.
  4. Apply their mathematical skills and understanding in other settings.
  5. Understand and communicate mathematical ideas orally and in writing and will be able to work with others in a problem-solving setting.

AREA C

In Area C, students will cultivate intellect, imagination, sensibility, sensitivity and interpretive skills by studying significant works of the human imagination. In addition, they will develop a greater understanding of the interrelationships among the creative arts, the humanities and the self across a variety of cultural contexts.

Overall Area C

  1. Develop literacy in and a broad knowledge of the arts (including, but not limited to the fine arts, music, drama, dance and cinema) and an awareness of the social and historical contexts in which they are created.
  2. Develop an awareness, appreciation and understanding of literary genres and philosophical traditions in their global, historical, and coltural contexts.
  3. Develop an understanding of multiple ethnic, philosophical, religious and ethical perspectives.
  4. Engage in cross-cultural analyses of languages, literatures, philosophies and artistic expressions and practices of European and non- European origin.
  5. Develop critical self-awareness and an understanding of alternative viewpoints by analyzing products of the human imagination.

Area C1: Fine Arts, Theatre, Dance, Music, and Film

  1. Develop literacy in artistic fields such as the visual arts, music, drama, dance, and cinema.
  2. Understand the significance of works of art, and develop a language and appropriate vocabulary to communicate about them.
  3. Understand the historical, cultural, and social contexts of works of art.
  4. Assess qualities of inspiration, imagination and creativity in works of art.
  5. Actively respond to, interpret, and communicate about works of art.

Area C2: Literature, Philosophies and Values

  1. Develop and expand philosophical or cultural awareness through the exploration of important philosophical questions or of cultural origins in various literary or philosophical traditions.
  2. Gain an understanding of the development of religions, beliefs, ethics, and values in relation to physical, social, historical and cultural contexts through the critical study of philosophies and literatures.
  3. Understand the significance of philosophical or literary works, and develop an analytical language and appropriate vocabulary to communicate about them.
  4. Understand how literatures or philosophies offer insights into constructions of religions, class, race, ethnicities, gender, and sexualities.
  5. Apply insights gleaned from the study of literatures and philosophies to their lives and to social issues.

Area C3: Comparative Perspectives and/or Foreign Languages

  1. Demonstrate understanding of diverse cultures through their cultural expressions such as languages, literatures, performance, and arts.
  2. Demonstrate cultural and/or linguistic competency through the study of diverse cultures and ethnicities.
  3. Engage in critical cross-cultural analysis in order to better understand one’s own culture in relation to other cultures.
  4. Demonstrate verbal and non-verbal skills in persuasive oral arguments, written assignments and presentations

GUIDELINES for all C3 Courses (approved by the GE subcommittee 12/9/10)

  1. Courses will include pedagogical development of oral skills and multiple opportunities for students, as individuals, to develop their oral presentation skills
  2. Courses will include pedagogical development of written skills and multiple opportunities for students, as individuals, to develop their written communication skills
Old Area C2
  1. Develop and expand cultural awareness through the exploration of cultural origins in various literary traditions in a global context.
  2. Develop an understanding of the literatures of various peoples and cultural traditions within their historical contexts.
  3. Develop analytical skills as they pertain to the study of literary genres, form, concepts, cultural histories and meanings.
  4. Understand how literature offers insights into the construction of class, race, ethnicities, gender, and sexualities.
Old Area C3
  1. Philosophy and values provides students with the opportunity to engage in the critical study of important philosophical questions which affect their lives. Some example topics are: Philosophy and religion, the politics of knowledge, morality and value theory, applied ethics, political philosophy, comparative philosophy, philosophy of the self and society, philosophy of science, technology and the perception of reality.
  2. Encounter the major traditions of Western philosophy, in conversation with other major philosophies from around the world.
  3. Understand the application of philosophy to ethical problems.
  4. Gain an understanding of the development of religions, beliefs, ethics, and values in relation to physical, social and cultural contexts.
  5. Learn to use ethics, religion and philosophy to understand their lives and contemporary social issues.
Old Area C4
  1. Demonstrate greater understanding of diverse cultures through their languages, literature, art, or other cultural expressions
  2. Demonstrate cultural and/or linguistic competency through the study of diverse cultures and ethnicities, including those of non-European origin.
  3. Engage in critical cross-cultural analysis in order to better understand their own culture in relation to other culture.

AREA D

The social sciences concentrate on the description and explanation of organization, variation and change in social practices and institutions. Courses in this area examine the diversity, variety and complexity of human life at every scale from the individual to the global. Courses instill an appreciation of the multiple perspectives and methodologies that social science disciplines offer for understanding the human experience.

Overall Area D

  1. Apply the principles, methodologies, value systems and ethics employed in social scientific inquiry to construct evidence-based arguments and to express them in writing.
  2. Develop knowledge of discipline-based methods of reasoning and research in the social sciences.
  3. Examine social, political, economic, and environmental issues in temporal and spatial settings and in a variety of cultural contexts.
  4. Understand how cultural diversity and complexity influence individuals, institutions, and societies.
  5. Gain an understanding of United States and California history and government.

Area D1

  1. Demonstrate understanding of how cultural diversity and social factors influence the individual, society, and social institutions.
  2. Demonstrate understanding of the interchange among individuals and social systems and institutions, and how these develop.
  3. Apply social science perspectives to social issues and problems as manifested in individuals, groups, societies, and/or internationally.
  4. Demonstrate understanding of the factors influencing inequality and social justice among individuals, groups, societies, and/or across nations.

Area D2

Nature and development of complex societies This subject area examines the emergence of complex societies and their diversity across time and space. Courses examine the ways in which societies and aspects of them function and interact, and the theoretical constructs that have been developed to explain these interactions and their social and environmental consequences.

  1. Learn a variety of conditions in which complex social systems have emerged and in which they have transformed.
  2. Acquire an appreciation for a significant range and diversity of societies across a broad temporal and geographic span.
  3. Attain a basic geographical and historical literacy. Students will be able to identify the locations and the basic chronological framework of the cultures studied.
  4. Study the ways in which aspects of these societies function and interact. These aspects include belief systems, social stratification, differential access to resources, gender, exchange, and conflict.
  5. Learn current theoretical constructs that explain these phenomena.
  6. Study ways in which societies interact with their physical environment. These include adaptations to, and modifications of, the environment as well as reactions to change in the environment.

Area D3

  1. Gain an understanding of significant historical events and their contexts, including both domestic events and foreign relations, in the
    history of the entire area now included in the United States of America over a period of at least 100 years.
  2. Explore the role of major ethnic and social groups in the history of the United States for the period covered by this course.
  3. Develop an appreciation for both the continuity of the American experience and its connections with other cultures in the areas of economics, society, colture, politics, and geography.
  4. Gain a greater understanding of, and appreciation for, historical debate and controversy and will learn to analyze and use primary and secondary sources to develop historical arguments.

Area D4

  1. Gain an understanding of the nature and character of the US constitution and its amendments.
  2. Develop an appreciation of the role of the major branches of American national government, including congress, the presidency and the federal courts; they will develop an appreciation of the checks and balances system and also of American federalism.
  3. Understand the organizations that act as intermediaries between government and people, such as interest groups, political parties, and mass media.
  4. Gain a greater understanding of elections, voting behavior and the nature of mass public thought and behavior.
  5. Be introduced to the topics of California state and local government structures become familiar with some of the major issues of California politics

Area D5

  1. Understand various social, political and economic systems across societies and nations, and how those systems are interrelated.
  2. Understand how social, political and economic systems affect access to wealth, power, and social and natural resources within and among nations.
  3. Understand how the distribution and access to natural resources, wealth, and power affects the development of social, political, and economic systems.
  4. Compare and contrast differing moral, ethical and ideological perspectives on the distribution of economic, political, social, and natural resources within and among nations.

AREA E

Integrated person courses are designed to study both processes affecting the individual, such as psychological, social, or physiological changes throughout the human life cycle, and the interactions between the individual and society. Focus is on the integration of disciplinary knowledge and personal experience with an appreciation of the duties and rights of a citizen with a rich public and personal life.

  1. Develop knowledge of themselves as psychological, social and physiological beings as they experience life.
  2. Understand the dynamic interactions and reciprocal relationships between individuals and social systems.
  3. Use pertinent disciplinary knowledge to understand how their own actions affect the world.
  4. Learn the importance of active engagement in their communities for the betterment of personal and public life.

Ethnic Studies

  1. Demonstrate understanding of the social science research and/or the arts and literature that addressthe experiences of racial/ethnic groups and individuals in the United States.
  2. Analyze the socio-political process of racial formation in relation to one or more of the following: group identities, the conservation and/or evolution of cultural and linguistic practices, gender roles, class issues, tribal sovereignty, attitudes toward diasporic communities and new immigrants.
  3. Identify and understand US ethnic groups from the voices and perspectives of the groups and individuals studied, including differing points of view.
  4. Demonstrate understanding of the significance of political and social justice movements by and about underrepresented racial/ethnic groups, while incorporating issues of class, gender, sexuality and immigration status.

GE Lab Requirements

  1. Provide hands-on experience with the tools and technologies used in problem solving in the physical or natural world
  2. Provide students the ability to combine conceptual or theoretical knowledge in science with practical skills
  3. Provide training in data collection, analysis, interpretation, and presentation, and the ability to distinguish data collection from data interpretation
  4. Provide students with empirical experiences, which enable them to apply the practical skills and scientific methodologies that have led to the development of scientific theory.