MaconCatalog : College of Liberal Arts and Sciences : General Education in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
 
General Education in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
The curriculum of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is composed of three interrelated components: general education, depth of study, and electives. The general education requirements are satisfied through the Foundational Studies program, which is designed to introduce students to the knowledge, skills, and perspectives needed to engage self, community, and an interconnected, yet diversified world.
Foundational Studies
As the founding college of Mercer University, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences is defined by its enduring mission of education and engagement, the passionate pursuit of truth, and a history of innovative pedagogy. A liberal arts education at Mercer begins with a ceremony of Convocation, a gathering that marks not just the point of departure for four years of courses, projects, papers, and exams, but of a lifelong commitment to learning, wisdom, and engagement. Foundational Studies takes up that moment of beginning, extending it and building it into a coherent framework designed to introduce the breadth and depth of knowledge, values, and skills that continue to shape and influence the human condition. In keeping with the great Renaissance artist Michelangelo’s insight Ancora imparo, "still, I am learning” (a statement reportedly made in his eighty-seventh year of life), students come to understand that learning is always just beginning. As each new source of knowledge re-contextualizes and reconfigures what has been learned before, additional avenues and opportunities for utilizing what is being learned emerge, connecting students’ acquisition of knowledge with its application for the benefit of the world and those with whom they share it. This emphasis on the application of knowledge for the betterment of humankind encourages students to develop the attributes of an actively engaged, liberally educated citizen.
Foundational Studies is characterized by shared goals and outcomes designed to augment and extend the development of students’ sense of self, an appreciation of neighbor, a concern for community, and the requisite skills for leadership. Upon successful completion of Foundational Studies, students will be able to:
 
-think critically
-engage global citizenship
-write clearly
-appreciate religious heritage
-communicate effectively
-value Western heritage
-integrate practical skills and knowledge
-consider human behavior within societies
-understand selfhood in relation to others
-analyze the natural world
-comprehend local citizenship within communities
-reason mathematically
-reflect on creative works
-demonstrate competency in a second
language
-connect academic knowledge with
experience
 
Foundational Studies is accomplished through one of two tracks: the Integrative Program or the Great Books Program. In each case, the requirements are fulfilled through (A) interdisciplinary courses, (B) literacy courses, (C) writing competency, (D) an experiential requirement, and additionally, (E) UNV 101. The combined requirements of either track contribute to the shared outcomes of Foundational Studies.
 
Integrative Program (30-39 hours)
The Integrative Program combines traditional disciplinary course requirements with developmentally appropriate multidisciplinary integrative courses, which serve to prepare students for engaged citizenry and provide a foundation of scholarship to complement the depth and rigor of the major and minor requirements. The program is composed of three required INT courses (INT 101 and 201, which satisfy the writing-instruction requirement, and INT 301, a writing-intensive course which fulfills the oral communication requirement); seven literacy block requirements, which expose students to areas of knowledge and experiences not explored through the content, pedagogy, and philosophy of INT courses; and an experiential requirement. Additionally, UNV 101 is required of all entering freshmen to assist with advising and the transition to collegiate living and learning.
Great Books Program (30-39 hours)
 
Within the Great Books Program, students study and discuss the writings of classic writers and thinkers of Western civilization, providing them a solid foundation for basing judgments and making decisions. The program is comprised of seven interdisciplinary GBK courses (GBK 101, 202, 203, 304, 305, 306, and 407), two of which satisfy the writing instruction requirement (GBK 101 and 202); three literacy block requirements (Foreign Language, Natural World, and Mathematical Reasoning), which expose students to areas of knowledge and experiences not explored through the content, pedagogy, and philosophy of the Great Books Program; and an experiential requirement. Additionally, UNV 101 is required of all entering freshmen to assist with advising and the transition to collegiate living and learning.
 
A. Interdisciplinary courses: INT and GBK
Interdisciplinary courses work to integrate the practical skills of writing, critical thinking, communication, and quantitative, qualitative, and critical analysis with relevant content knowledge and perspectives. The Integrative Program requires three INT courses, which analyze complex issues from varied perspectives, drawing both on texts from different domains (natural sciences, social sciences, humanities, and arts) and on direct experience to develop solutions to address those issues. The Great Books Program has seven GBK courses organized chronologically, engaging many of the foundational texts of the Western tradition. These courses integrate texts from a number of domains (primarily from the humanities, but including texts from the social sciences, mathematics, natural sciences, and fine arts).
B. Literacy
Disciplinary literacy blocks complement the interdisciplinary course work by exposing students to diverse areas of knowledge and experiences. To ensure adequate breadth of exposure for students completing the Integrative Program, at least six differently prefixed courses must be used to fulfill the seven distinct literacy block requirements. The seven literacy blocks are: Foreign Language Competency, Mathematical Reasoning, The Natural World, Western Heritage, Religious Heritage, Creative Expression, and Human Behavior and Society. Individual block descriptions and requirements are as follows:
Foreign Language Competency: Students will learn the basic structures and vocabulary of a language, while understanding fundamental cultural practices common to speakers of that language. Students of modern languages should be able to communicate with native speakers in everyday situations that occur in civil society (knowing how, when, and why to say what to whom). Students of ancient languages should understand the relevance of the language to modern languages and cultures. This block’s requirement can be fulfilled in any of the following ways:
 
1. Placement by exam into CHN, FRE, GER, LAT, SPN 251 or above.
2. Successful completion of the elementary sequence 111-112 in CHN, FRE, GER, GRK, LAT, or SPN in order to demonstrate mastery of fundamental features of a foreign language.
3. Students who are proficient in a language not offered at Mercer, and who wish to use it to satisfy this requirement, must request permission, in writing, from the chair of the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures by the end of the fourth semester of enrollment.
Many students enter the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences with a background of two or more years of French, German, Latin, or Spanish. Those who wish to continue studying that language or exempt the language requirement must take the foreign language placement test before enrolling in FRE/GER/LAT/SPN courses. This test will determine the course best suited to their level of proficiency. Scoring at the intermediate level or above satisfies the foreign language requirement for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The placement test may be taken only once, and the results are binding. Students who are found to be in the inappropriate course for their proficiency level will be unenrolled. The Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures strongly recommends that students take the test during Summer Orientation. Additional dates may be found on the Registrar’s web site. Students who studied Chinese or Greek in high school and who wish to continue studying that language should contact the department to arrange a placement interview. The prerequisite for enrollment in Chinese, French, German, Greek, Latin, or Spanish 251 is the successful completion of either the placement test or the 112 course. Students who place into and successfully complete CHN/FRE/GER/SPN 251 or above will receive 4 additional hours of credit toward graduation (3 additional hours of credit for GRK/LAT 251 or above) for the elementary sequence.
 
Creative Expression: Through the study or creation of artistic works, students will develop aesthetic sensibilities, personal creativity, and/or the ability to critically analyze and articulate meaning. This block may be filled by courses either in the arts as an object of study or as an engagement with the materials of artistic production. This block’s requirement is fulfilled by successfully completing one course from either (a) or (b).
 
Study of Creative Arts
AFR 221; ART 106, 107, 108, 222, 229; ENG 221, 226, 233, 234, 235, 237; HIS 245; JMS 220, 225; MUS 151; PHI 260, 265; THR 115; WLT 101.
 
Performance/Production of Creative Arts
ART 114, 115, 116, 117; ENG 222; JMS 230; any three-hour combination of MUS 182, 183, 191, 196, 197; THR 218.
 
Religious Heritage Students will read and analyze scriptural and religious texts. Students will consider the central and integral role of these texts in their historical context, and also in relation to current societal, cultural, and political issues. This block’s requirement is fulfilled by successfully completing one of the following courses:
AFR 230; ENG 225; HIS 275; PHI 240, 247; REL 110, 130, 150, 170.
 
Western Heritage: Students will examine the nature of Western culture through analysis of and reflection on some of the significant actions, ideas, and sources that have been influential in shaping our world today. Students should analyze and evaluate arguments from a variety of texts and, through reflection on those events and texts, promote reasoned judgment and engagement with the problems and issues explored therein. To develop historical consciousness, students will acquire a sense of historical relationships, such as cause and effect and how the past relates to the present. They will be exposed to intercultural and/or global perspectives. This block’s requirement is fulfilled by successfully completing one of the following courses:
AFR 225; CLA 101, 102; ENG 224, 263, 264, 265; FLL 195; GBK 202; HIS 105, 176, 201, 215, 225; PHI 176, 190, PHI 195, 230, 269; POL 176; REL 210, 230, 270; SST 180.
 
Human Behavior and Society: Students are introduced to the concepts and theories used to explain personal, social, and/or political behavior. Students compare and analyze scientific theories and methods of acquiring information. Students will be introduced to global or comparative perspectives, whether between major ethnic or social groups or between cultures. This block’s requirement is fulfilled by successfully completing one of the following courses:
AFR 190, 210; ANT 101; COM 230, 250; ECN 150, 151; GEO 111; GHS 200; JMS 101, 145, 240; PHI 237; POL 101; POL/IAF 253; PSY 101; SOC 101, 210; WGS 180.
 
The Natural World: Students will examine topics in the natural sciences through both theory and experiment or observation. Students will demonstrate the ability to reach conclusions about natural systems by applying sufficient logical or mathematical analysis to connect theoretical concepts to data. Students will be introduced to either broad disciplinary topics or narrower topics of current interest. This block’s requirement is fulfilled by successfully completing one of the following courses:
BIO 102, 110; CHM 110, 111; ENB 150; PHY 102, 108, 109, 115, 141, 161.
 
Mathematical Reasoning: Students will be able to use appropriate mathematical concepts to make sense of the world. Students should recognize which mathematical concepts are applicable to a scenario, appropriately apply mathematics and technology in its analysis, and then accurately interpret, validate, and communicate the results. This block’s requirement is fulfilled by successfully completing one of the following courses:
CSC 204; MAT 104, 141, 191; PHI 180; STA126.
 
Block requirements for the two tracks are:
Integrative Program
1. Foreign Language Competency
(0-8 hours)
2. The Natural World (4 hours)
3. Mathematical Reasoning (3-4 hours)
4. Creative Expression (3 hours)
5. Religious Heritage (3 hours)
6. Western Heritage (3 hours)
7. Human Behavior and Society
(3 hours)
 
Great Books Program
1. Foreign Language Competency
(0-8 hours)
2. The Natural World (4 hours)
3. Mathematical Reasoning (3-4 hours)
 
 
C. Writing Instruction
Effective, intentional writing is integral to student success both within and beyond the academic setting. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences recognizes that writing is not merely a mode of communication; rather, it is also a method of reflection, thinking, and analysis. The ability to write provides a way for students to adopt a discipline’s habits of mind while also reflecting on their own reasoning process. The goal of Writing Instruction is not only to strengthen students’ basic writing skills but also to prepare them to engage in public and professional discourse.
 
Integrative Program
 
The Writing Instruction requirement is fulfilled by the completion of INT 101 and 201. INT 101 should be taken in the first year and is a prerequisite to INT 201; INT 201 should be taken in the sophomore year. A grade of C or better in INT 101 is required to enroll in INT 201.
Great Books Program
 
The Writing Instruction requirement is fulfilled by the completion of GBK 101 and GBK 202. A grade of C or better in GBK 101 is required to enroll in GBK 202.
 
 
D. Experiential Learning (EXP)
Experiential learning promotes an understanding of academic material through active participation and reflection. These experiences substantially improve the learning of class material, build valuable skills, and have a positive impact on the student and the larger community. Fulfillment of the Experiential Learning Requirement must be approved and documented by a faculty or staff mentor, who will engage students in a reflection exercise that is appropriate to the discipline and nature of the experience. Upon successful completion of the experience (as defined by current guidelines adopted by the College) students will receive the appropriate EXP designation on their transcripts.
 
Students must fulfill the Experiential Learning Requirement in at least one of the following ways:
 
EXP 401: Supervised Undergraduate Research
EXP 402: Creative Activity in the Arts
EXP 403: Service Learning
EXP 404: Study Away Experience
EXP 405: Mercer on Mission
EXP 406: Competitive Academic Teams
EXP 407: Internship
EXP 408: Student Mentors
EXP 490: Special Project
 
E. First-Year Student Requirement
During their first semester at Mercer University, all first-year students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences are required to complete UNV 101. First-Year Student Experience (1 hour).
 
Additional Depth of Understanding (minimum of 15 hours)
These courses promote depth of understanding outside the major, in the spirit of a liberal arts education, and address, “How do we develop, criticize, and revise our understanding of complex issues and problems?” This requirement can be fulfilled by earning a grade point average of 2.0 or higher in one of the following: (1) a second major in another discipline; (2) a minor in another discipline; (3) a B.S., B.A., or B.F.A. interdisciplinary major that includes additional depth.