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New Core Curriculum Renews Commitment to the Liberal Arts

March 12, 2013

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Saint Anselm College has approved a new core curriculum that represents a renewed commitment to the liberal arts and the humanities, and is geared toward rigorous learning outcomes saif Father JonathanSaint Anselm College has approved a new core curriculum that represents a renewed commitment to the liberal arts and the humanities, and is geared to rigorous learning outcomes, said Father Jonathan DeFelice, O.S.B., president of the college.

The curriculum will be implemented in Fall 2014, updating and building upon the current curriculum. There will be a continued emphasis on educating students deeply and ensuring that they graduate with the intellectual skills that are most valued in the workplace of today and that will continue to serve them in the future.

"This is an outcomes-based curriculum that is expected to provide students with the ability to think, adapt and communicate," Father Jonathan says. "It will attract the best students who are drawn to a strong liberal arts education."

The new core curriculum will focus on nine learning outcomes for students: philosophical reasoning, theological reasoning, quantitative reasoning, scientific reasoning, aesthetic and creative engagement, historical awareness, social scientific awareness, linguistic awareness, and citizenship and global engagement.

Details of the new curriculum are still being completed, as well as plans for a transition from the current curriculum to the new, but its goals and broad outlines are clear. The Office of the Dean of the College will provide information as it is ready to be announced.

The new core will feature a first-year humanities program entitled Conversatio, which will replace the current humanities program, Portraits of Human Greatness. The two-semester program will introduce students to the liberal arts, Benedictine thinking, and the Catholic intellectual tradition, as well as humanistic texts.

"It doesn't matter if students are from another religious tradition or no religious tradition at all, this program will help them understand they are not the first ones to think about the big questions," Father Jonathan says. "They aren't alone when they ask themselves: ‘Who am I? Why am I here? Is there a god? What is God like? Are there a right and a wrong? If so, how do I sort out what's true and what is not?' There is an entire intellectual tradition that has thought about these things."

Students will take four, four-credit courses a semester, rather than the current five, three-credit courses, allowing for in-depth exploration of subjects. In addition, it will provide students with greater flexibility than the current core, allowing students to pursue their majors earlier in their college career.