A great college education is transformative. For our students, the cornerstones of this transformation are a student’s major and the Liberal Education Program (LEP). With students' needs in mind, the faculty at Southern Connecticut State University has developed a general education curriculum that will prepare SCSU undergraduates for the 21st century.
What do you need to be successful in today's society, and in the future? What does it take to become an engaged citizen in the world?
These are big questions, but they are the kinds of questions you will begin to think about as you embark upon your college experience.
Students develop the specific skills and depth of knowledge required for expertise within a particular field or profession through their major. Students gain the foundational skills and exposure to different ways of thinking that are required of flexible, creative citizens through the LEP. This program, shared by all students on campus, is designed to balance the major’s narrowing effects with exposure to a wide range of people, ideas and attitudes.
We encourage students to embrace the LEP as an opportunity to learn about themselves, explore new interests and look for yet unidentified abilities. Core skills are developed in the Tier 1 courses. These skills are applied in Tier 2 courses as students explore the breadth and diversity of the university. The Tier 3 (capstone) course is a chance to step back and connect all that one has learned.
The LEP is sequential, based on building blocks known as Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3. Here's how it works:
Academic expectations are different in college than they are in high school. Tier 1 builds a college-level foundation so that you have the skills you need to succeed in your university courses. In your Tier 1 courses, you'll strengthen your quantitative and literacy skills -- skills you will need in any career you choose to pursue.
Areas of knowledge prepare students for active citizenry and serve as the basis for lifelong learning. Tier 2 courses continue to develop and reinforce the skills introduced in Tier 1.
The LEP Capstone Seminar integrates your skills (Tier 1) and areas of knowledge and experience (Tier 2) with discussions of values. It addresses both the role of values in decision-making and relationships among the values. Particular focus is on a substantial contemporary issue and how values inform one's perspective on the issue. The course emphasizes all of the skills you've acquired, but especially critical thinking with analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. The LEP seminar allows students to integrate their liberal education learning experiences and may involve a community or service component.
Why A Liberal Education Program?
Southern is not unique in developing a Liberal Education Program for its students -- many forward-thinking universities in the United States are creating similar programs as they consider what their students will need to succeed after graduation.
The Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) sees liberal education as "a philosophy of education that empowers individuals with broad knowledge and transferable skills, and a strong sense of value, ethics, and civic engagement."
Southern believes that such an education can be transformative and empowering as well as practical. A curriculum based on this philosophy is a curriculum for a new generation!