Principles and Objectives
A Drew education challenges students to take intellectual risks, to develop curiosity and creativity, and to ask and explore difficult and complex questions. At Drew, a liberal arts education means depth of knowledge acquired in a major field of study, breadth of knowledge gained by exploring widely across a rich and varied curriculum, and the acquisition of competencies that are broadly applicable in a range of academic and professional settings. As part of a Drew liberal arts education, students also engage the world beyond the gates of the university, taking what they have learned in the classroom and applying it in a different context, local or global. The general education curriculum is designed to give students flexibility and choice; it asks students to shape an education that deeply engages them and readies them for a life after Drew of continued learning, community involvement, and professional leadership.
Fulfilling the General Education Requirements
Drew’s general education requirements are designed to structure a student’s academic program through four years. Some courses – the College Seminar, College Writing, The Common Hour – are designed to be taken in the first year, while others are meant to be taken later, like the writing intensive courses, or in the senior year, like the major capstone.
To complete the Drew B.A. degree, students must earn at least 128 credits, of which at least 48 must be completed at Drew. Students must complete 64 intermediate and upper-level credits, of which at least 32 credits must be at the upper level. All students must complete a major and fulfill the requirements of the general education program. For graduation, a student’s cumulative grade point average, both overall and in the major, must be at least 2.0.
I. The First-Year Experience
The College Seminar (2 credits)
Taken by all entering students in their first semester, the College Seminar emphasizes critical inquiry, analytical and creative thinking, critical reading, intellectual engagement with faculty and peers, and writing to learn. Designed by each faculty member around a topic of his or her choice, the seminars are lively discussion classes in which students begin to acquire, to develop and to practice the skills associated with inquiry in the liberal arts. The seminars also begin to introduce students to appropriate uses of information from academic and non-academic sources. Students are co-enrolled in the College Seminar and the College Writing course and are housed in residence halls in proximity to the other members of their seminar to allow for continuation of seminar discussion and interaction beyond the classroom.
College Seminar Learning Objectives
Enter into and participate in a scholarly conversation both orally and in writing;
Comprehend, evaluate and analyze materials and texts [written, aural, visual, numeric] as well as think synthetically and creatively about them;
Evaluate and explain the appropriate use of different kinds of information from a variety of academic and non-academic sources.
The Common Hour ( 1,1 credits)
Meeting one hour each week during the fall and spring of the first year, the Common Hour creates a shared experience for the entire first-year class. Throughout the Common Hour, students work with advanced undergraduate peer mentors, one of whom is assigned to each seminar group. Common Hour activities include major speakers and cultural activities, a multi-session Campus Life Seminar, academic planning and advising activities, a career planning seminar, and opportunities to meet regularly in small groups with the peer mentors. The Common Hour is graded on a pass/no credit basis.
Learning Goals for the Common Hour
As participants in the Common Hour, students will learn to:
Participate actively in the life and academic culture of the university and make effective use of the all of its resources, contributing to the community and enhancing their own educational experiences.
Use Drew’s academic technology effectively in their academic work;
Identify the ways in which other students can be resources for them as students and as members of the Drew community.
College Writing (2-4 credits)
In College Writing I and II students develop and practice the advanced literacy skills necessary for a liberal arts education. Students develop their critical reading, writing, and research skills, and strengthen all aspects of the writing process from invention to editing. The courses build on the sense of intellectual community developed in the College Seminar and serve as a bridge between the first year writing sequence and the writing intensive and writing in the majors courses that follow. Students in each section of College Writing are co-enrolled in one of three or four other courses, creating writing-focused learning communities.
Learning Goals for College Writing I and II
Upon completion of College Writing, student will be able to:
Use writing as a mode of learning and as a way to share ideas and research and enter into a scholarly dialog. This includes drafting and revising papers; writing in a manner appropriate for college-level papers; reading, interpreting, and responding to a variety of ideas and texts;
- Comprehend, evaluate and analyze resources as well as think synthetically and creatively;
- Evaluate and explain the appropriate use of different kinds of information from a variety of academic and non-academic sources, engage with that source material, and correctly incorporate information into their own writing.
II. Breadth of Knowledge
An educated person never loses the capacity to wonder and to be curious, to question and explore experience from varying perspectives. Thus a broad grounding in the diverse disciplines that constitute the arts and sciences is a hallmark of a liberal arts education; it also prepares students to grasp the richness and complexity in seemingly disparate bodies of knowledge and to become actively engaged and informed citizens of the world.
The function of acquiring breadth in learning is both to bring greater enjoyment to life and to enhance our ability to function meaningfully in our work, society, and personal lives. Each student should select breadth courses in consultation with the advisor, considering how those courses can complement the work of the major or open to him/her new fields of interest or knowledge. Breadth courses represent opportunities to investigate the riches of the curriculum and to make connections between and among different disciplines.
Learning Goals for Breadth:
After courses in four different fields and an interdisciplinary area, explain some fundamental ways in which disciplines differ in content, methods, and practices.
Be able to draw knowledge from breadth fields into the study of their majors.
The general education requirements that each course satisfies can be found in the course catalog at the end of each course description. This information can also be found on the course list for each semester. A key to the codes used to identify these requirements can be found on the course list and is also described in detail below. Meet with your advisor to determine the best approach to meeting these requirements.
Natural Sciences (4 credits) [BNS]
Courses in this category introduce students to the physical and life sciences and to the nature of scientific inquiry and the scientific method (hypothesis development, experimental design, observation, data analysis and interpretation)
Social Sciences (4 credits) [BSS]
Courses in this category introduce students to the study of how social norms, cultural values and social institutions shape societal and individual human behavior. They also examine various methodological and disciplinary approaches to the study of societies and individuals as well as social problems and conditions.
Arts (4 credits)[BART]
Courses in this category introduce students to the creative process and to theoretical and analytical approaches to the process of making a work of art. In these courses, students experience the arts as a means to explore and understand the interplay between imagination and technique in the production of works of art, whether music, visual art, writing, performance, or design.
The Humanities (4 credits) [BHUM]
Courses in this category introduce students to the philosophical, historical, religious studies and literature disciplines which investigate human experience by studying how events, texts, time periods, traditions, beliefs and values have shaped our understanding of the past and present. These courses approach this investigation primarily through: reading and analysis of primary documents, examination of change over time, and use a comparative approach..
Interdisciplinary Studies (4 credits) [BINT]
Courses in this category introduce students to fields which examine an area, topic or question by bringing the approaches and content of two or more disciplines to bear and/or developing new and distinct methods and approaches in the process of this inquiry. These courses ask students to follow a similar practice in course assignments and activities.
Satisfying the Breadth Requirements
Breadth courses may be 2 or 4 credits, but students must complete 4 credits in each of the five areas.
No single course may be used to fill more than one breadth area.
A student’s five breadth courses must be chosen from at least four different subject areas.
Breadth courses may be counted to fulfill a major requirement or another General Education requirement.
III. Liberal Arts Proficiencies
Students develop the following fundamental liberal arts proficiencies as part of their Drew education; these proficiencies lay the essential foundations for future study, employment and participation as a citizen in a democratic society and an increasingly globalized world. Each proficiency is introduced early and strengthened throughout the student’s four years.
In addition to College Writing (if a student’s placement requires it), students take a Writing in the Major course or sequence and two writing intensive courses, one of which may be taken in the major field.
Writing in the Major field (2-4 credits) [WRMJ]
Writing in the Major courses are designed to introduce students to the conversations in the field and invite them to join those conversations using the writing and documentation styles and formats appropriate to the discipline. The purpose of these courses is to teach students to understand and practice the kinds of writing that are specific to the discipline they are studying and to strengthen their information literacy skills in the field. For this reason, no two majors’ courses look the same; however, all of these courses and course sequences share the same broad goals. Writing in the major courses are most commonly taken in the sophomore year or the first semester of the junior year. Students should consult the requirements in their major departments for their specific requirements.
Learning objectives for Writing in the Major
Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:
Use writing as a way to enter ongoing conversations and scholarly dialogs on a variety of issues appropriate to the major field. This includes identifying, evaluating, and explaining the appropriate use of different kinds of information from a variety of academic and non-academic sources in the major field; engaging with source material; summarizing and synthesizing ideas and information as part of their writing; and correctly incorporating the ideas of others into their own writing.
Use writing as a mode of learning and as a way to share ideas and research with different audiences. This includes reading, interpreting, and responding in writing to a variety of ideas and texts; drafting, revising, and editing papers; evaluating discourse communities and adapting their writing accordingly, and writing in a manner appropriate for college-level papers in this field.
Use analytical and critical thinking as a part of the writing process. This includes comprehending, evaluating, and analyzing resources; and thinking synthetically and creatively as they develop ideas and revise their prose.
- Writing Intensive Courses (8 Credits) [WRIT]
Writing Intensive (WI) courses build on the academic literacy skills taught in College Writing and expand those skills. They require students to use writing as a mode of learning and as a way of entering scholarly conversations about topics presented in a course. WI courses may not require any more pages of writing than regular sections of the same course; however, they do require that faculty spend some class time on the discussion of writing and give sufficient written feedback on student writing and that students use such feedback to rethink, revise, and improve their writing. This process of writing, engaging with feedback from instructors and peers, and revising is the heart of the writing-intensive course experience.
Upon completion of these courses, students will be able to:
Use writing as a mode of learning and as a way to share ideas and research with different audiences. This includes reading, interpreting, and responding in writing to a variety of ideas and texts; drafting, revising, and editing papers; evaluating discourse communities and adapting their writing accordingly, and writing in a manner appropriate for college-level papers.
Use analytical and critical thinking as a part of the writing process. This includes comprehending, evaluating, and analyzing resources; and thinking synthetically and creatively as they develop ideas and revise their prose.
Use writing as a way to enter ongoing conversations and scholarly dialogs on a variety of issues. This includes identifying, evaluating, and explaining the appropriate use of different kinds of information from a variety of academic and non-academic sources; engaging with source material; summarizing and synthesizing ideas and information as part of their writing; and correctly incorporating the ideas of others into their own writing.
Quantitative Literacy (8 credits) [QUAN]
Quantitative literacy is a fundamental liberal arts proficiency that Drew students develop by completing two courses (8 credits) designated as quantitative literacy courses. These courses introduce and develop quantitative methods and skills. They place these methods and skills in a broader context through applications to other disciplines. The introduction and application of quantitative techniques is a significant component of any course so designated, even if the primary focus of the course is not mathematical. Credit awarded for a Drew [QUAN] course as a result of an AP exam counts as completion of 4-credit of the quantitative requirement.
Upon completion of the Quantitative requirement, students will be able to:
Define problems in a quantitative way and select appropriate data and/or techniques to investigate the problem;
Interpret, assess, and critique quantitative information and reasoning in context;
Create, interpret, and analyze graphs and graphical representations of data;
Use computational tools to answer quantitative questions;
Communicate quantitative ideas accurately and effectively.
Foreign Language [FLAN]
In an increasingly globalized world, competency in more than one language is essential. Studying language contextually in the classroom and then applying language in real-world experiences prepares students for a wide variety of professional, educational and personal opportunities. Drew offers language instruction in ten languages: Ancient Greek, Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Latin, Russian and Spanish. Students at Drew are required to achieve a level of language competency equivalent to the first three semesters of foreign language training at the college level.
Learning objectives for Foreign Language Requirement
Upon completion of the language requirement, students will be able to do some of the following as appropriate to each language:
Interact successfully in concrete communicative tasks and social situations in foreign languages
Have a reading comprehension at least adequate to deal with basic personal and social needs
Decode authentic cultural documents, and in some cases literary texts
Meet a number of practical writing needs
Become more aware of one’s own cultural and linguistic identity by experiencing the contrast between English and foreign languages
Understand and to appreciate cultural diversity in order to function successfully in communities where the target language is spoken
Maintain and to build upon prior knowledge of a foreign language
Students must complete a language through the intermediate level (courses numbered 201). Students starting a language at Drew will require three semesters of language study to reach this proficiency level. It is highly recommended that these three semesters be completed consecutively.
Exemption from Drew’s Language Requirement:
A student may be exempted from Drew’s language requirement under one of the following circumstances:
- if their application to Drew requires them to submit a TOEFL score;
- by providing documentation to the Office of Academic Services that they attended school in a language other than English up through at least the 6th grade;
- by demonstrating proficiency equal to Drew’s language requirement on a Drew placement test;
- by demonstrating proficiency equal to Drew’s language requirement on a placement test administered through the Office of Academic Services in a language not offered at Drew;
- by scoring 680 or higher on an appropriate SAT II exam;
- by scoring a 4 or 5 on an appropriate Advanced Placement (AP) exam;
- by scoring a 5 or higher in an appropriate IB language course (SL or HL)
All students planning to continue a language they have studied in high school must take the summer language placement test to determine their placement and the appropriate language course(s) that they will need to take to fulfill the requirement.
Information literacy, as defined by the Middle States Association, is an intellectual framework for identifying, finding, understanding, evaluating and using information [textual, visual, quantitative, aural, etc.]. It includes determining the nature and extent of needed information; accessing information effectively and efficiently; evaluating critically information and its sources; incorporating selected information in the learner’s knowledge base and value system; using information effectively to accomplish a specific purpose; understanding the economic, legal and social issues surrounding the use of information and information technology; and observing laws, regulations, and institutional policies related to the access and use of information.
Students acquire proficiency in information literacy throughout the curriculum but with particular emphasis in the writing course sequence and through writing and capstone experiences in the disciplines.
Learning Objectives for Information Literacy
Upon completion of this sequence of courses, students will be able to:
Frame a research question, and recognize when further information is necessary;
Show a practical understanding of how information systems are organized and; articulate how information technology affects information retrieved and produced;
Locate and retrieve information effectively and efficiently, using appropriate information technology;
Evaluate information critically, and analyze sources and their perspectives;
Integrate new information with prior knowledge, organize content effectively, and use a communication medium and style appropriate to the task;
Demonstrate understanding of issues affecting the use of information and information technology, including copyright, privacy and censorship.
IV. Global and Local Citizenship
Taken together, the language requirement and the diversity requirement detailed below, prepare students to be fully engaged citizens of a complex and increasingly globalized world.
Diversity [DVIT, DVUS]
Through two diversity courses, one U.S.-focused and one with an international or transnational focus, students come to understand the historical and/or contemporary concepts used to interpret and compare cultures within the United States and abroad and learn to assess the myriad ways in which countries and cultures–both past and present–encounter, affect, and exchange with one another. Many of these courses also explore visual, aural, kinetic, and literary representations of difference as they respond to and reshape the cultures that produce them. Through these courses, students explore historical and/or contemporary similarities and differences in the dynamics and types of social inequities between the United States and other countries and re-examine the contexts and experiences of their own lives and how these shape their encounters with others.
Diversity courses are available at all levels of study (introductory, intermediate, and advanced) and may also satisfy other general education, department or program requirements. While some diversity courses may be listed as fulfilling both U.S. and International/Transnational requirements, a student must take two different courses to fill the two categories; one course may not be double-counted for both. Many DIS pre-departure and on-site courses, as well as other study-abroad and off-campus programs and internships fulfill the international/transnational requirement. Students are encouraged to complete at least one of their two diversity courses within their first two years at Drew.
Learning Objectives for Diversity courses Upon completion of these courses, students will be able to do at least four of the following:
Define key historical and/or contemporary concepts used to interpret and compare cultures within the United States and internationally.
Articulate some ways that countries and cultures–both past and present–encounter, affect, and exchange with one another.
Analyze visual, aural, kinetic, and literary representations of difference and explain how they respond to and reshape the cultures that produce them
Identify and analyze historical and/or contemporary similarities and differences in the dynamics and types of social inequities between the United States and other countries.
Re-examine the contexts and experiences of their own lives and how these shape their encounters with others.
V. Off-Campus Experience (0-16 credits)
Each student plans an off-campus experience as part of her/his undergraduate education. This experience might be an internship, Drew International Seminar, a full-semester domestic or international off-campus program, a teaching or language practicum, a community-based learning course, an off-campus research experience, an international summer language program, a service learning program, or a community service project. The experience should be chosen in consultation with the adviser and should grow out of academic work the student has completed by the time he/she does the off-campus experience Experiences may be 0-16 credits (i.e. from a non-credit bearing service experience to a semester abroad).
Students must complete at least 40 hours on-site for 0-credit bearing experience;
At the end of the experience, students must complete a process of reflection. This takes the form of formal or informal writing saved in their writing portfolios, but it might include, in addition, group discussions and participation in colloquia or other presentations for the campus community.
Upon completion of the Off-Campus Experience, students will be able to:
VI. Depth of Study: The Major Field
In order to achieve depth of knowledge in at least one field or discipline, each student is required to complete a disciplinary or interdisciplinary major. Students wishing to develop depth in more than one field have the option of completing a minor or a second major.
Students should select their major in consultation with their advisers. Students may declare the major at any time after completion of the College Seminar and must declare a major by the end of their second year.
A student may develop a special major rather than elect one of the existing departmental or interdisciplinary majors. There must be a strong educational advantage for doing so, one that cannot be served through any of the traditional majors. Choosing options such as a double major or major/minor(s) is preferred to designing a special major.
To submit a proposal for a special major, a student must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.1.
- In developing a special major proposal, the student must work primarily with a faculty member who agrees to serve as the major adviser. The proposal shall be reviewed by the Assistant Dean, who will present it, if it is acceptable (i.e., if it meets the guidelines, is well written, and is without error in spelling or grammar), to the Committee on Academic Policy and Curriculum (CAPC) for evaluation and action.
- If a student has or later declares a second major, no more than two courses from one major may count toward the other.
A special major proposal is expected to include:
- a short descriptive title.
- significant academic work in at least three disciplines.
- a minimum of 60 credits, no more than 12 of which may be at the introductory level.
- a rationale for the proposal that explains its purpose, specifying how and why the proposed special major provides a learning experience not available in the pursuit of a traditional major and demonstrating creativity, intellectual integrity, and ability to synthesize.
- an integrated, coherent, focused program of inquiry supported by a schedule of courses and/or programs that constitute the special major and a statement that justifies the selection of each course.
- a statement of endorsement from the major adviser addressing the merits of the proposal and the student’s argument for the special major. It is the responsibility of the adviser to check the proposal for content, presentation, and adherence to these guidelines, prior to submission.
- the form with the required signatures of faculty and administrators.
Any exception to these guidelines must be approved by the CAPC following receipt of a petition submitted by the student and supported by the major adviser.
The final version of the proposal is to be submitted to the Associate Dean for Curriculum and Faculty Development. Submit both a hard copy with the signed cover form and an electronic copy of the proposal.
Special majors should normally be approved by the second semester of the sophomore year. They are to be submitted to the CAPC no later than October 15 for a student declaring a major in the Fall semester and no later than March 15 for a student declaring a major in the Spring semester. Any exception to submitting a proposal later than the second semester of the sophomore year requires a petition to the CAPC. Petitions will be evaluated on the basis of the strength of the proposal, the academic record of the student, and the educational merits of the case for exception..
General education requirements must be met.
- Special majors must be presented individually. Approval of a special major in one instance in no way implies approval of similar subsequent proposals.
- Examples of well written proposals are available in the Office of the Associate Dean.
The College offers many disciplinary and interdisciplinary fields. While a minor is not required for graduation, many students choose to add a minor to their program of study as it allows them to pursue a field outside of their major in some depth. In choosing a minor, students should consider how it enhances the breadth of their overall course of study and how it might articulate with their chosen major field. Drew offers the following types of minors:
Disciplinary Minors: Most disciplines that offer a major also offer a minor.
Interdisciplinary Minors: Interdisciplinary fields draw together courses from several departments, sometimes in dialogue with interdisciplinary core offerings, in order to explore a topic or area. The College offers Interdisciplinary Minors In Archaeology, Arts Administration and Museology, Asian Studies, Biochemistry, Business, Society and Culture, Dance, Environmental Studies and Sustainability, European Studies, Jewish Studies, Holocaust Studies, Humanities, Latin American Studies, Linguistic Studies, Middle East Studies, Russian Studies, Public Health, Western Heritage, World Literature, Women’s and Gender Studies and Writing.
Student-Designed Minors: A student-designed minor allows students to pursue a particular interest and explore an area not represented in the regular curriculum. In consultation with a faculty sponsor, students may design a minor of six courses (24 credits including no more than four credits at the introductory level) that is composed of courses focused on a particular topic, problem or theme. The faculty sponsor must approve the minor, which is then submitted for approval to the Associate Dean of Curriculum and Faculty Development. Student-Designed minors must be approved by the Committee on Academic Policy and Curriculum.
With the exception of introductory level courses that provide a foundation for multiple disciplines, no more than eight credits may be counted toward two majors or in both a major and a minor.
VII. Capstone in the Major
All students must complete a credit-bearing Capstone in their major field, usually in the senior year [CAP]. The Capstone is the culmination of a student’s work in the major, with the goal of promoting and demonstrating coherence, synthesis, and purpose in the discipline. In addition, the Capstone Experience offers the opportunity to link focused study of a particular major with the Principles and Objectives of a Drew General Education. The specifics of the capstone are defined within each major; double majors must complete the capstone in each major. (The Capstone is 1-8 credits, which may be an honors thesis, senior seminar, senior exhibition or performance, independent study or research project as designated by the department.)
Upon completion of the Capstone course, students will be able to do the following at a level appropriate for an advanced undergraduate:
Demonstrate a working competency in the content, terminology, skills, practices, methods, questions and core principles of the major field;
Communicate effectively in the discourse of the major field;
Evaluate their own and others’ work in the field;
Place their major field in relation to a broader context.