College of General Studies
The College of General Studies offers a two-year, integrated liberal arts core curriculum, taught through a team structure. College of General Studies students then continue into specific majors in the University’s liberal arts and professional degree programs.
The General Education Core Curriculum
The College’s core curriculum assumes that the first two years of study are an optimum time for exploring a significant body of historical and scientific knowledge, for examining a wide range of cultural patterns and values, and for developing critical thinking and effective communication. Thus, the core curriculum provides the student with a challenging program of interdisciplinary study focused on developing modes of intellectual thought prior to the declaration of a major.
The Team Structure
The College of General Studies is committed to the belief that freshman and sophomore students are entitled to the most intensive and effective teaching that can be provided for them. Therefore, the College has developed its own innovative approach to teaching through the team structure—a system in which faculty and students work closely together throughout the academic year.
The team system, pioneered by the College, has been described as an intimate “college within a college.” Each freshman faculty team consists of three professors—one from each of the divisions of Social Sciences, Humanities, and Rhetoric. These faculty members are responsible for a team of approximately 90 students who are grouped into four discussion sections. Each sophomore faculty team consists of three professors—one each from the divisions of Natural Sciences & Mathematics, Humanities, and Social Sciences. There is also a staff academic advisor for each freshman and sophomore team.
The College avoids the use of intermediaries between the professors and the students. Hence, there are no graduate student teaching assistants, graders, or lab assistants. All discussion sections and labs are led by the professors.
The team system assures students of reasonably small sections, in which discussion and dialogue are emphasized. Professors readily get to know their students and are aware of each student’s individual progress. Team suites provide a comfortable, informal setting for individual conferences and open discussion among students and faculty within the team. Regular consultation among faculty members enables them to coordinate coursework to meet the interests and needs of their students. The team system thus reinforces the interdisciplinary character of the College’s curriculum.