Frequently Asked Questions About SCSU's Liberal Education Program
1. What does the term "liberal education" mean?
According to the American Association of Schools and Colleges, a liberal education is: … an approach to learning that empowers individuals and prepares them to deal with complexity, diversity, and change. It provides students with broad knowledge of the wider world (e.g. science, culture, and society) [and] … helps students develop a sense of social responsibility, as well as strong and transferable intellectual and practical skills such as communication, analytical and problem-solving skills, and a demonstrated ability to apply knowledge and skills in real-world settings.
2. Why do I have to complete the Liberal Education Program rather than take courses based upon my interests or that are in my major?
Central to the Liberal Education Program is the belief that educated citizens should be equipped with a breadth of knowledge to use throughout their lives—knowledge that not only stimulates desire for future learning but also makes such learning possible. If college is doing its job, it is graduating individuals with broad-based knowledge including (but not limited to) literacy skills in many areas (verbal, visual, quantitative, technological, etc.), critical thinking and problem solving skills. This deep reservoir of knowledge enables citizens to face challenges and to adapt to many different life situations.
3. If what I really want is a good career, why must I spend time on courses outside of my chosen profession?
As discussed above, the ability to adapt emerges from a firm educational base. This is essential to any career, as is a depth of general knowledge to help you make choices that are best for you. Additionally, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, people change their jobs about ten times before they are forty. Flexibility, then, is key to your well-being as changes in your life and your career bring new challenges. The ability to adapt to different situations is important for more than just changing your career. In fact, it involves a host of different life choices which, if considered carefully, and from the perspective of an educated person, can lead to overall satisfaction with yourself. The importance of such satisfaction (called self-actualization) reaches well beyond the narrow limits of a good paycheck.
4. Why am I not allowed to take more than two Explorations courses from any single field of study?
To achieve the broad base of knowledge so important to a fulfilling life (discussed above), the LEP is designed to acquaint you with many areas of knowledge and fields of study. Such broad exposure will enhance your ability to be successful in your major, because it enables you, once again, to approach problems with a strong underlying reservoir of knowledge to draw from. This is why the LEP is intentionally designed to be interdisciplinary. To ensure that you benefit from this interdisciplinary design, you may not count more than two Explorations courses from the same subject area towards your Explorations LEP requirement. IMPORTANT NOTE: If you take a 3rd LEP Explorations course in the same subject, it will automatically count as a free elective and will not fulfill an Explorations requirement even though it is in an Area of Knowledge that you have not yet satisfied. This does not mean that you can’t take the course, it just means that it does not satisfy an Explorations requirement.
5. Do I have to finish Foundations before I begin Explorations?
How quickly you complete the rest of Foundations will depend on your placement in World Languages, English and Math. You may take some Explorations courses before or at the same time as Foundations courses as long as the course doesn’t have Foundations prerequisites.
6. How much time do I have to complete my Explorations courses?
Technically, you have until you graduate to complete your Explorations courses, but it’s best to finish them by the end of your sophomore year so you can concentrate on your major with a more well-rounded educational grounding enabling you to bring a greater depth of knowledge to your selected field of study. Exposure to Explorations Areas of Knowledge encourages early exploration of other academic areas, particularly important if you are undeclared or perhaps not entirely sure that you’ve chosen the major that is best for you. Such early exploration could also lead you toward a minor that you may not have not considered but find yourself drawn to.
Your ability to complete Explorations in your sophomore year depends, of course, upon where you have placed in World Languages, Math, and English, and your ability to complete the necessary Foundations prerequisites. Some things to keep in mind include the following:
- Technological Fluency and Quantitative Reasoning should be completed in the 1st semester of your sophomore year.
- Multilingual Communication should be completed by the end of your junior year.
7. Can a course taken as an LEP requirement also count toward a minor or major requirement?
Often this is the case, but it is up to the department offering the program to determine which courses (LEP or otherwise) can count toward a degree. You will see these clearly indicated within your Degree Evaluation once the major and/or minor are assigned. You may also explore these through the "what-if analysis" feature.
8. If I think a course I’ve taken at another college should have transferred in as an LEP requirement, but it did not, who can I contact?
Academic Advising works very hard to ensure that your transfer credits are distributed in your best interest and to offer you the best pathway to a timely graduation. Additionally, the Liberal Education Program has a director who is always happy to meet with you to discuss any of your concerns related to the LEP. After you have consulted with your advisor, if you still feel that a particular course or courses should meet requirements in the LEP, contact the program director at LEP@southernct.edu.
9. Other questions not answered here
Please don’t hesitate to direct any other questions you might have to the Liberal Education Program Director at LEP@southernct.edu.