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Scenes from Green Hall

Revised General Education Program

2001 Appendix A - General Education Core Areas

Letters Core Area (L)


Letters - courses that examine human values, thought and culture in social, historical, and philosophical contexts through the use of primary sources and critical expositions.


To qualify, a course will:

  1. enhance students' self-awareness as independent readers and thinkers and encourage consultation with their peers in intellectual work.
  2. present knowledge that describes the human condition, past and present.
  3. equip students with analytical skills necessary for humanistic inquiry within or across individual disciplines.
  4. create assignments that foster critical reflective inquiry and its application to scholarly work and personal values.

List of kinds of assignments that incorporate particular skills (not intended to preclude other assignments the meet the criteria):

  • Sequential writing assignments, short or long, that develop organizational and critical writing skills and/or the use of primary sources.
  • Analysis of historical data (e.g., vital statistics, census records, immigration records) using statistical formulas or software.
  • Students reading and critiquing other students' drafts of papers.
  • Think pieces (oral or written) that encourage critical examination of primary sources and/or theoretical works, essays.
  • Small group work by students who examine primary or secondary texts Extracting the main idea or hypotheses in written or oral presentation.
  • Searching primary newspapers or documents for past or current perspectives on the human condition.
  • Use websites critically and with proper attribution.
  • Short in-class essay responses.
  • Biographical inquiry and writing.
  • Keep journals that integrate ideas from the course and personal values.
  • Short story, play writing, or artistic endeavors that illuminate issues in the humanities.
  • Critical film/museum/book reviews.
  • Interviewing/oral history regarding issues/personal history/ethical values.
  • Use the URI campus and/or surrounding community as texts to illuminate issues in courses.
  • Draw upon local/regional museums for class assignments.
  • Assemble panels of students to discuss/debate issues or points of view.
  • Formal oral class reports.
  • Practice speaking skills in short presentations.