General Education Mission Statement
General Education, as an integral component in the achievement of the Mission of Saint Francis University, provides a means for the University to honor many of its most important commitments. Ever mindful of the rapidly changing world around us and the need for multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary inquiry to address complex problems, General Education is dedicated to providing students with the values, skills, and knowledge necessary to meet future challenges. True to the liberal arts roots and Franciscan heritage of the University, the program encourages students to examine ethical issues, demonstrate global awareness, become actively involved in community service, and prepare for life-long learning of new skills and knowledge.
General Education contributes to the development of the whole person, allowing individuals to achieve more rewarding and purposeful lives. General Education strives to achieve 14 objectives that collectively represent the values, skills, and knowledge deemed most important by Saint Francis University. These include:
Values: Develop an understanding of the goals of Franciscan higher education and examine one’s own values in light of those goals.
- Understand the complexities underlying moral and ethical questions and the consequences of choices we make as individuals and as members of communities.
- Develop an understanding of the importance of human and cultural diversity.
- Develop a commitment to life-long learning and to sharing our skills and abilities through community service.
Skills: Demonstrate skills in communication, quantitative reasoning, critical thinking, information literacy, and responsible citizenship.
- Develop the skills necessary for effective communication in a variety of formal and informal contexts.
- Demonstrate proficiency in mathematical reasoning and quantitative literacy.
- Develop critical reasoning skills and abilities.
- Effectively conduct research using discipline-appropriate materials and methods.
- Develop the collaborative and leadership skills necessary for exercising the rights and responsibilities of citizenship in a participatory democracy.
Knowledge: Develop a broad conceptual foundation in various fields of knowledge and make interdisciplinary connections.
- Demonstrate knowledge in the traditional liberal arts and sciences, with attention to primary source materials, multicultural issues, and interdisciplinary topics.
- Develop historical perspective across and within disciplines, finding the connections among different ideas, courses, and majors.
- Develop a conceptual foundation in economic, political, and social systems.
- Cultivate an understanding of processes and concepts used in science and technology.
- Develop an appreciation of the visual arts, music, theatre, and literature through creative expression, performance, and analysis of artistic works.
- Develop an understanding of key elements of personal health and wellness, major health care issues, and the well-being of communities.
General Education encompasses the learning Saint Francis University wants for its students generally, regardless of academic major or professional ambition. At Saint Francis University, general education is a multi-year program that weaves together core curriculum courses plus other program components including first-year experiences such as the Summer Orientation and Academic Registration (SOAR) program, a summer reading program, the First-Year Seminar, and the First-Year Cornerstone Franciscan Course (Franciscan Goals for Today); co-curricular offerings such as the college-wide Community Enrichment Series (CES); other curricular requirements such as the Wellness Sequence (CORE 211 -CORE 212 ) and the Writing Competency Examination; an upper-level Keystone Seminar; and options such as the General Education Thematic Minors (GETMs) to create a connected, coherent academic experience that provides a foundation for life-long learning.
All Saint Francis University undergraduate students will complete the revised General Education program, “Ethical Citizenship for the 21st Century.”
General Education - a multi-year program that incorporates core curriculum courses plus other program components to create an academic experience that provides the foundation for life-long learning.
Keystone Seminar- an experience or course that enables students to make connections based on material, information, and ideas encountered and developed during their undergraduate years.
General Education Thematic Minor (GETM) - a 15-credit sequence of courses that focus on a common theme related to the Franciscan Mission of Saint Francis University. Four of the five courses address (respectively) Ethics, Science and Quantitative Literacy, Diversity and Communications, and Social Systems; the fifth is the Keystone Seminar. Students opting to complete a GETM may declare that minor and have it listed as such on their transcripts.
Open Program - Students may also choose to complete the final 15 credits of their General Education requirements without choosing a unifying common theme; however, the Open Program does NOT lead to a declared minor.
General Education Core Curriculum
Ethical Citizenship for the 21st Century: A Program for General Education
This program is to be completed by all Saint Francis University undergraduate students.
Firmly rooted in Franciscan heritage and values, “Ethical Citizenship for the 21st Century” includes the learning that Saint Francis University wants for all of its students. Starting with the First-Year Seminar and the First-Year Franciscan Cornerstone Course, which includes a service-learning component, the program offers curricular and co-curricular experiences designed to provide students with the values, skills and knowledge necessary for responsible, engaged citizenship in today’s world. This general education program is a multi-year program that weaves together core curriculum courses and other program components to create a connected, coherent academic experience that provides a foundation for life-long learning. The program includes a 36-credit inner core of course offerings (some common core courses and some choices within defined parameters) and a menu of 15-credit General Education Thematic Minors that allow students to take responsibility for choosing a focus for a significant portion of their general education. All of these thematic minors culminate in a Keystone Seminar that includes a collaborative project. Students will explore various aspects of health and wellness including completing a portfolio project in the sophomore year. In addition to the core courses, students engage in the university’s Summer Academic Orientation and Registration (SOAR), a first-year summer reading program, and a college-wide community enrichment series (CES). In order to assure that graduates can express complex thoughts and write at an appropriate level, all students must either pass a junior-level writing competency examination or complete ENGL 199 with the grade of C or better.
EXAM 301: The Writing Competency Exam
The Writing Competency Exam (WCE) is part of the General Education requirements of Saint Francis University. The exam is designed to “assess ability to write a clear, developed, and organized essay”. Passage of the exam is a requirement for graduation, Juniors (students with 60 completed credits, but no more than 95) who have not yet either passed this exam or completed ENGL 199 with the grade of C or better will be automatically enrolled in the exam. Students will not be allowed to drop the exam except under extraordinary conditions and with the approval of their advisor and the Dean of General Education. Students who are enrolled in the exam, but fail to take it, will receive an “F” on their transcripts
Students who fail the WCE will automatically be enrolled for the WCE each semester until they pass it, unless they petition the Office of General Education to be allowed to miss a semester (for study abroad, etc.). Students who are automatically enrolled for the WCE cannot drop it without permission from the Office of General Education. Students who wish to withdraw from the WCE after the drop/add period has passed must get permission from the Office of General Education. Students who are enrolled for the WCE, but fail to take the exam, will receive an F.
Students who have not passed the WCE or completed ENGL 199 with the grade of C or better by the first semester of their Senior year (or by the first semester after they have earned 96 credits), regardless of whether they have attempted it or not, will automatically be enrolled in CORE 199 , a required 5-week writing remediation course. Students in CORE 199 will take the Writing Competency Exam at the end of the course; if a student enrolled in CORE 199 does not pass the WCE, a grade of CN will be recorded and the student will be required to take CORE 199 again. This requirement will be deferred for one semester for students who transfer in as Seniors, and may be deferred for other causes by petition to the Office of General Education. Students required to take CORE 199 will no longer be eligible to enroll in EXAM 301. Transcripts will note that passage of CORE 199 counts as passage of EXAM 301. Students who complete ENGL 199 with the grade of C or better will be exempt from EXAM 301.
Requirements for Graduation: Ethical Citizenship for the 21st Century
*Students who entered the University in 2012 or 2013 must complete Core 121-124.
- CORE 103 - Community Enrichment Series
- CORE 104 - Community Enrichment Series
- CORE 113 - First-year Seminar
- CORE 211 - Personal Wellness*
- CORE 212 - Community and Global Wellness*
- EXAM 301 - Writing Competency Exam (Completing ENGL 199 with a grade of C or better can also satisfy this requirement.)
- ENGL 103 - Writing for a Discipline
- ENGL 104 - Introduction to Literature
- RLST 105 - Franciscan Goals for Today
- Any history course at the 100- or 200- level (HIST)
- SCI 101 - Science for Active Citizenship or
- SCI 201 - Intro Traditional and Renewable Energy Technologies or
- Any natural science course that has an associated lab, if the lab is also completed.
- MATH 101 - General Mathematics or
- Any MATH course numbered 105 or higher
- PHIL 205 - Discovering Philosophy Reasoning and Responsibility
- Three credits of Fine Arts electives (FNAR, ART, MUS, THTR)
- Any language course at the 102- level or above (ASL, FREN, GERM, ITAL, LANG, LATN, SPAN)
Two 3-credit courses (6 credits) from the following. (Selections must be from two different disciplines: ECON, PSYC, PLSC, or SOC.)
- ECON 101 - Principles of Economics I
- PSYC 101 - Introduction to Psychology
- PLSC 102 - American National Government or
- PLSC 103 - World Politics
Or any sociology course at the 100- or 200- level as follows:
- SOC 101 - General Sociology
- SOC 102 - American Society and its Problems
- SOC 103 - Sociology through Film
- SOC 104 - Sin and Society
- SOC 202 - Introduction to Women in Society
- SOC 208 - Globalization and Development
- SOC 210 - Sociology of Sport
- SOC 295-299 - Special Topics
Outer Core: General Education Thematic Minor or Open Program
Fifteen credits (five 3-credit courses) in a General Education Thematic Minor OR the Open Program, distributed in five categories, as follows:
- Category 1: Ethics
- Category 2: Science and Quantitative Literacy
- Category 3: Diversity and Communications
- Category 4: Social Systems
- Category 5: CORE 407 - Senior Keystone Seminar
Specific General Education Thematic Minors require specific courses in each of these categories; up-to-date lists of courses for each GETM are available from the General Education Office.
Total Ethical Citizenship credits: 51
All first-time full-time matriculating students will be required to enroll, at some point in their academic careers at Saint Francis, in the following CORE courses in order to earn a degree: CORE 103 , CORE 104 , CORE 211 , CORE 212 , and CORE 407 . This policy applies without regard to the number of college credits any student may have earned prior to attending Saint Francis.
Students who have matriculated on a full-time basis at another College or University prior to attending Saint Francis may be exempt from one or more CORE courses according to the number of credits they have transferred in:
Students transferring in more than 14, but fewer than 28 earned credits, excluding AP, College in High school and CLEP credits, are required to take either CORE 103 or 104, but not both.
Students transferring in 28 or more earned credits, excluding AP, College in High school and CLEP credits, are exempt from CORE 103 and CORE 104.
The requirement of CORE 113 is waived for students transferring in 28 or more credits, excluding AP, College in High school and CLEP credits.
Students transferring in 48 or more credits, excluding AP, College in High school and CLEP credits, are exempt from CORE 211 and CORE 212 .
Starting in Fall 2011, students entering under the revised program (Ethical Citizenship for the 21st Century) who, upon admission, transfer in a composition course from an accredited college or university (including college in high school classes) or who have earned a “4” on the Advanced Placement exam for English Language and Composition or English Literature and Composition, will be eligible to complete a research writing assessment. Students who receive a passing grade on the assessment will have the transferred composition course or AP exam grade substituted for ENGL 103 . First-time full-time matriculating students earning a “5” on the Advanced Placement exam for English Language and Composition or English Literature and Composition will receive credit for ENGL 103 .
Students who enroll for a section of ENGL 103 MUST enroll in the disciplinary course linked to that section.
Students in ADCS programs may take RLST 205 instead of RLST 105 . RLST 205 is offered only online and only to students in ADCS programs. Except by permission of the chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, either RLST 105 or RLST 205 must be completed at Saint Francis University.
Recommended Course Sequencing for students entering with fewer than 28 earned credits:
- EXAM 301- Writing Competency Exam
- At least two courses required for a General Education Thematic Minor or the Open Program
- Fine arts elective(s)
- Language at the 102-level or above
- One course in each of two social-sciences disciplines, as required in the Inner Core, above.