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Revised General Education Program


2001 Appendix A - General Education Core Areas


Natural Sciences Core Area (N)

Definition

Natural Sciences - Courses that employ scientific methods to examine the physical nature of the world, the biological dimension of human life, and the nature of the environment and its various life forms.

Guidelines

Courses in Natural Sciences will:

  1. Develop student understanding of how scientists collect and interpret data in one or more disciplines within the natural sciences
  2. Provide a foundation of knowledge in one or more areas of a natural science
  3. Create assignments designed to develop critical thinking skills necessary to understand and interpret scientific information
  4. Develop student understanding of the importance of the natural sciences in resolving real life problems

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

  • Read complex texts
    • Students read and interpret research papers or comprehensive review articles. Examples of review articles might be those found in Scientific American or American Scientist.
    • Students read and evaluate papers related to an area of current controversy within their disciple and then take and defend a position relative to that controversy
  • Write Effectively:
    • Students submit a series of lab reports or short papers; instructor or TA feedback allows students to improve subsequent submissions
    • Course requires a term paper that may be reworked and resubmitted after instructors' evaluation.
  • Speak Effectively
    • Students make regular oral presentations before the class with instructor and/or group feedback designed to improve speaking skills.
  • Examine Human Differences
    • Assignments that examine the scientific bases and interpretations for similarities and differences between human groupings.
    • Assignments should include readings from sources other than the standard texts. It should be noted that courses approved on the basis of this skill will be designated as "Diversity" courses.
  • Use of Quantitative Data:
    • Assignments require students to collect, analyze, and interpret data.
    • Assignments require the use of statistics, formulae and/or graphs and charts
  • Use of Qualitative Data:
    • Assignments require analysis and interpretation of historical, descriptive, or comparative information.
  • Use of Information Technology:
    • Assignments involve the use of information technology
    • Assignments require students to access and interpret web-based information
    • Assignments require use of information technology such as simulations, statistical packages, data loggers and data links, presentation software, data bases, image analysis, web-based information search and conferencing.
  • Engage in Artistic Activity
    • Assignments might include biological illustration, biological imaging, cartography, and use of technology to produce works of art.

Examples