2011-2012 Academic Catalog 
    Aug 07, 2022  
2011-2012 Academic Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Program of Liberal Studies

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The foundation of a Clark undergraduate education is the Program of Liberal Studies. Through this program, students acquire the intellectual habits, skills and perspectives that are essential for self-directed learning. They are given a framework within which they can select a program of study and receive a broad introduction to liberal and lifelong learning. Students have the option of fulfilling the requirements of the Program of Liberal Studies through the International Studies Stream, a special program, which consists of courses that prepare them to better understand global, political, cultural and economic issues.

The Program of Liberal Studies has two components:


1. Critical Thinking Courses: While every course in the University involves work in critical thinking, two types of courses place       special emphasis on the cultivation of these skills. Students take one course in each of these areas:

  • Verbal Expression: Verbal Expression courses place special emphasis on the relationship between writing and critical thinking within a particular discipline.
  • Formal Analysis: Formal Analysis courses include the use of a formal, symbolic language as appropriate for a specific discipline, rules of logic for that language, and the use of that language for modeling the subject matter of the discipline.

2  Perspectives Courses: Perspectives courses offer breadth and introduce students to the different ways in which various disciplines or fields define thinking, learning and knowing. Students must successfully complete one course in each of the following six perspectives categories, with each course taken in a different academic department:

  • Aesthetic: Aesthetic Perspective courses emphasize artistic expression and the perception, analysis and evaluation of aesthetic form. These courses are designed to enhance students’ appreciation and understanding of the arts.
  • Global Comparative: Global Comparative Perspective courses introduce students to comparative analysis by exploring the cultural, political or economic aspects of human diversity around the world. They provide students with tools for analyzing human experience by examining similarities and differences in a global or international context.
  • Historical: Historical Perspective courses develop students’ capacity to understand the contemporary world in the larger framework of tradition and history. Courses focus on the problems of interpreting the past and can also deal with the relationship between past and present. All courses are broad in scope and introduce students to the ways scholars think critically about the past, present and future.
  • Language and Culture: Language and Culture Perspective courses foster the study of language as an expression of culture. Students may study foreign languages, which highlight the relationship between language and culture, or English-language courses that deal with the same issue.
  • Natural Scientific: Scientific Perspective courses teach the principal methods and results of the study of the natural world. Courses focus on the knowledge and theoretical bases of science. They also include laboratories or similar components to introduce students to the observation of natural phenomena and the nature of scientific study.
  • Values: Values Perspective courses examine the moral dimension of human life as reflected in personal behavior, institutional structures and public policy in local and global communities. Courses taught from the values perspective focus not only on the systematic formulation and analysis of moral and ethical claims, but also on how moral decisions affect both the individual and society.


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