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Scenes from Faculty Senate

Application For Course Approval

for General Education Program

Course Number: HIS 171
Course Title: East Asian Culture and History
Check the general education core area for this course: *

  • _X_ Foreign Language/Cross-Cultural Competence
  • ___ Letters (also applying separately for this area

*Note: courses can qualify in more than one area but a separate form is required for each request. Students may use a course for general education credit in one area.

Department(s) in which course will be taught: History
Faculty member(s) responsible for course: Timothy S. George
Office: Washburn Hall 217D
Office Phone: 401.874.4091

Will non-tenure track faculty teach this course?
___ Yes       _X_ No

If yes, approximately what percentage of sections will be taught by non tenure-track faculty?


The integrated skills** that this course will focus on are:

  • _X_ Examine human differences
  • _X_ Read complex texts
  • _X_ Use of information technology
  • _X_ Write effectively

*Note: At least three integrated skills are required.

Course description (as would be found in catalog):
A broad overview of the culture and history of East Asia. Emphasis on society, culture, philosophy, and religion, especially as they relate to and influence contemporary developments. Lectures, discussions, and readings in primary and secondary sources.

Faculty member's signature: _____________________________________________

Chairperson's signature: _______________________________________________

Dean's signature: _______________________________________________________

The purpose of this application is to assure that the proposed course meets explicit goals established for the general education program. These are:

  • The ability to think critically in order to solve problems and question the nature and sources of authority
  • The ability to use the methods and materials characteristic of each knowledge area with an understanding of the interrelationship among and the interconnectedness of the core areas
  • A commitment to intellectual curiosity and lifelong learning
  • An openness to new ideas with the social skills necessary for both teamwork and leadership
  • The ability to think independently and be self-directed; to make informed choices and take initiative

Part I

This part consists of six questions designed to highlight fundamental aspects of the general education program. Only answer question 5 if it is relevant to your course.

1. If not stated in your syllabus, please indicate the primary learning objective(s) of your course.

See course description and objectives on syllabus.

2. How does the proposed course meet the goals established for the general education program?

The ability to think critically in order to solve problems and question the nature and sources of authority.
This is done throughout the course, especially in recitations, and is modeled in lectures.

The ability to use the methods and materials characteristic of each knowledge area with an understanding of the interrelationship among and the interconnectedness of the core areas
This is done throughout the course, especially in recitations.

A commitment to intellectual curiosity and lifelong learning
This is encouraged throughout the course, especially in recitations, and is modeled in lectures.

An openness to new ideas with the social skills necessary for both teamwork and leadership
By its very nature, this course is all about new ideas. Small-group discussions in recitations, and peer groups for the comparative book review, encourage teamwork.

The ability to think independently and be self-directed; to make informed choices and take initiative
Familiarity with the ways East Asian societies have dealt with human problems should help students make informed choices. Choosing their own books and focus for the comparative book review should help their self-direction.

3. How is the course suitable for the general education area you have requested it be classified:? Please refer to the criteria for the relevant division as described in Appendix A as well as to your course materials appended to this form

Appendix A states that Foreign Language/Cross-cultural Competence courses "promote understanding of one's own cultural perspective in a multicultural world and develop the skills necessary to work, live, and interact with persons from different backgrounds, including developing bilingual skills, the comparative study of cultures, the study of cross-cultural communication, and/or study/internships abroad." In doing so they "prepare students for life in an increasingly internationalized environment" and "introduce students to significant comparisons between U.S. cultures and foreign cultures." As shown by the syllabus, this course (and any course!) on the histories and cultures of China, Korea, and Japan does all of these things except for "developing bilingual skills" and "study/internships abroad."

4. Explain how this course provides opportunities for practice in each of the integrated skills you have listed on the coversheet.

Examine human differences:

This is done throughout the course. I shall give just three examples here.

First, the main focus of the first part of the course is the topic of discussion in the week 5 recitation: "When did China become Chinese? Korea Korean? Japan Japanese?" Students are asked to imagine they travel by time machine to one of these countries, and to decide the earliest date at which they could recognize which country they are in. (The handout for this discussion is attached.) This question is often asked on exams, and always included on study guides for exams.

Second, the topic of the discussion in week 8, in which we consider China's and Japan's encounters with western imperialism in the 19th century, is "Why did Japan respond more successfully than China and Korea to the imperialist challenge?" In other words, students draw on their knowledge of Chinese and Japanese culture and history to explain why Japan was quicker to develop a sense of crisis and a productive nationalism.

Third, one topic of discussion in week 14 is "Is democracy possible in China?" Students use their knowledge of Chinese culture and history to answer this question, and must also grapple with the different understandings of democracy in different countries. This question is also often asked on exams, and always included on study guides for exams.

Read complex texts:

See syllabus for readings discussed in recitations. In week 2 they are given the following instructions for preparing to discuss these readings, nearly all of which are primary sources: "For each, know who wrote it, when and where it was written, why it was written, and why it is important. Be prepared to point to specific evidence in each reading (not the editors' introductions) to support your answers."

Use of information technology:

A course website, using WebCT, supplements the other components of the course.

Students are required to post comments on each week's topics and readings to a course bulletin board. These often evolve into online discussions, with students responding to each other's posts. Students are required to post on the bulletin board the names of the members of the peer groups they form for their comparative book reviews, as well as the titles of the books each student has chosen. Many students also use the bulletin board to advertise for classmates who wish to join study groups, or to inform the class of events related to the course. I use it for important announcements.

Lecture outlines (with key names and terms in bold), the syllabus, all handouts, and exam study guides are available as PDF files on the website.

After I have submitted course grades, students may access their grades for the course, and their scores on each component of the course, from course website.

The second news reading assignment requires students to find on the Internet an article on China, Korea, or Japan from one of four specified newspapers.

Write effectively:

Students write two short news reading reports. See syllabus for details.

Students write a comparative book review. They form peer groups and receive feedback from both the instructor and their peer group members on drafts of their first paragraph, and from their peer group members on a complete draft.

All students are encouraged to use the Writing Center. I repeatedly emphasize that I am willing to look at outlines and drafts in advance of due dates.

One midterm exam and the final exam include essay questions, for which we prepare in recitation and review sessions. Two midterm exams and the final exam include short answer questions, requiring them to identify and explain the significance of key terms. We also prepare for these in recitation and review sessions.

5. Will your course sometimes be taught to groups of students larger than 60? If so, please explain what you will do to insure that each of the integrative skills will be achieved. Please explain how each integrative skill will be achieved.

The enrollment limit for this course is 75. The entire class meets together twice a week, usually for lectures, with questions and discussion encouraged. It is broken down into three recitation sections, each of which meets with me once a week. Over half of the recitation time is given to small-group discussions.

Answers to question 4 above explain how each skill is achieved.

6. If other instructors (including per course faculty or teaching assistants) teach the course, what will be done to ensure that the proposed content and skills will be maintained across sections and instructors? (To be completed by department chair.)

Part II

Please provide documentation of the means by which your course attempts to reach the goals of the general education program courses described above. Please attach a syllabus (mandatory) and all relevant course materials (e.g., exams, homework and laboratory assignments, classroom exercises) that will demonstrate how your course does this. In addition, please feel free to include any explanation(s) necessary showing how the course materials are linked to both the goals of general education program and specifically to the integrated skills.

Attachments: History 171 Spring 2003 Syllabus