Criteria for Humanities Core Courses

Humanities core courses in this category may focus either on world view or acquisition of knowledge. Beyond particular content, these courses are designed to introduce students to the methods of analysis and evaluation of art and culture. Any 300+ level course submitted for consideration for Humanities Core cannot possess a prerequisite course that does not also fulfill Humanities Core (exception: Ancient and Modern Languages).

Description of Humanities Core Course as World View

Courses in this category will illustrate how particular societies or groups organize their ideas, perceptions, morals and values into coherent patterns and structures.

Description of Humanities Core Course as Acquisition of Knowledge

Courses in this category study the acquisition, classification and analysis of particular forms of knowledge and their expression within human cultures. One of the learning goals should be to help students understand the methodologies and practices used to analyze or otherwise engage the subject matter of that course. Courses that focus on aesthetic appreciation through performance or production might fall into this category.

Some models for how one might teach acquisition of knowledge:

  1. A course could teach students how to respond analytically and critically to cultural artifacts (e.g., literature, music, language, art) by:
    1. Describing the basic elements of specific artifacts and their specific effects on meaning,
    2. Relating the effects of geography, economics, politics, religion, philosophy, science or language on the values of a culture and the features of the artifact (in other words, demonstrating a critical relationship among specific disciplines),
    3. Determining how an artifact reflects and/or rejects the major values or concerns of a historical era, culture or society.
  2. A course could teach students how to:
    1. compare and contrast two or more ideas using an explicit method of analysis,
    2. engage in thinking that is purposeful and goal directed - the kind of thinking involved in solving problems, formulating inferences, calculating likelihoods, and making decisions when the thinker is using skills that are thoughtful and effective for the particular context and type of thinking task.

Last updated March 20, 2007.

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