The New General Education Experience

The Distribution Areas (37-48 Credit Hours)

 

Morehouse College offers a range of courses for students seeking a rewarding college experience. The General Education Experience utilizes a distribution course model that allows Morehouse students to have choices rather than a prescribed model of courses as currently in place. However, more choices often lead to less success. Therefore, to ensure that our students develop the academic foundations they need, all Morehouse students, no matter their major, must successfully complete courses as described below before graduation (subject to change).

THE PROGRAM DEFINED: SKILLS, AREAS & DESIGNATIONS

Students are expected to achieve proficiency in the six learning objectives that we have identified by completing general education requirements in three overlapping categories. We have named these categories skills, areas, and designations, recognizing that these are far from complete. Still, they help us to organize the curriculum, both for us as a faculty, and even more importantly, for students.

We anticipate that this curriculum will expose students to a breadth of knowledge, opportunities to work in transdisciplinary and cross-disciplinary ways, and develop the tools to see and work through problems using many disciplinary lenses. A critically important feature of the curriculum is the Black History, Life and Culture designation, which will be take the form of writing-intensive seminars that incorporate both service-learning and some of the Crown Forum requirement.

SKILL: WRITING

Educating students in writing has a long and important history at HBCUs and at Morehouse in particular. Hugh Gloster ‘31, president of Morehouse College immediately following Benjamin Elijah Mays, from 1967 to 1987, was the founder of the College Language Association (CLA) at a time when Black people were not permitted to fully participate in MLA activities. The CLA is but one example of our rich, complex, and writing tradition. This proposal builds upon that past work, recognizing that in today’s world, every discipline and every path students take after they leave Morehouse requires a level of proficiency in writing.

We propose that the general education writing requirement consist of the following components:

Initial Assessment and Placement: The particular tools we use to assess students may vary, but we will always use some information to take stock of where students are. This will be done for two reasons. First, we will use the results to ensure that students are placed into the level of work most appropriate for their development. Second, we will use the initial assessment as a marker against which we can measure to track progress over time, particularly as students complete their writing within the general education curriculum.

Composition: We anticipate that every first-year student will engage in composition work. Some may be more advanced than others, but every student will be required to take some level of composition. Students will be asked to engage in exposition, argumentation, and critical analysis; and they will explore a variety of perspectives, focusing notably on the work of authors within the African diaspora. Composition will be a prerequisite for Critical Writing.

Portfolio and Post-Assessment: students should maintain a portfolio of their writing. Ultimately, we will use their initial work and writing at key stages (e.g. after completion of their last BLHAC writing seminar) to inform students (and us) of their progress in writing.

SKILL: LANGUAGE

Learning a foreign language is critical to attaining the College’s mission and for our students to become global citizens. The Partnership for 21st Century Learning and the National Education Association stress how important it is for students to develop global competence by learning languages. At Morehouse College, learning languages will require that students

  • Communicate effectively in a variety of situations
  • Develop intercultural competence
  • Make connections with other disciplines and perspectives
  • Apply language skills to academic and real-world settings
  • Participate in a broader world of multilingual communities in the United States and abroad.

To fulfill the general education requirement, students must reach the level of Intermediate Low in a foreign language, as established by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL). Students can demonstrate this level of proficiency by completing a language course at the 201 level or by:

  • Taking the ACTFL Oral Proficiency Examination and earn a minimum score of Intermediate Low
  • Earning a score of 4 on the AP Spanish, French or German Examination
  • Passing a CLEP Level 2 examination with a score of 63 or higher
  • Graduating from a high school with a Seal of Biliteracy
  • Holding an International Baccalaureate high school diploma.

SKILL: QUANTITATIVE ANALYSIS

In today’s world, there is a growing need for the ability to work with numbers, quantities, and data sets in systematic ways. This is an essential skill and fulfillment of this requirement will equip students to:

  • Use the tools of mathematics to represent, analyze, and solve problems involving quantitative information
  • Estimate, deduce, and infer quantitative conclusions using the systems, ideas, and theories of mathematics or statistics
  • Understand the limits of quantitative evidence to draw conclusions
  • Communicate concisely and coherently quantitative information, analysis and conclusions

AREA: ARTS & LITERATURE 9

The Arts hold a special place in the human experience. In this area, students will explore how artistic expression and the creative process can bring about disruptive and innovative solutions. Art has the power to express ideas, feelings, and conditions of humanity in ways that are deeply moving; can capture the history and culture of a people; and is one of the most fundamental creative acts, one that has utility but is certainly not bound by function. Completion of work in this area will necessarily include at least one of the first two:

  • Analysis/critique and history: how to understand works and the contexts in which they are produced
  • Creation/Performance: the production or performance of art in some measure
  • Allowable areas: visual, music, performing, spoken, literary, story-telling, and multimedia

AREA: ETHICS & IDEAS

President Benjamin E. Mays claimed that Morehouse College provided “an education with a social conscience, a social concern; science has made the world a neighborhood, it is up to us—leaders in education and religion—to make it a brotherhood.” Similarly, Martin Luther King, Jr. insisted: “intelligence plus character, that is the purpose of education.” Honoring this unique legacy, students taking courses and seminars in this area will critically examine and intensely explore big ideas or ultimate questions and ethical systems, whether philosophical or religious, or both, within a global context. Students will be asked to:

  • Earnestly engage in the critical analysis of arguments and evidence, in part through deep and close reading of texts
  • Engage big questions of humanity—questions on: the meaning of life, the limits of knowledge, life and death, and much more
  • Explore how people have searched for and found meaning
  • Examine various ethical systems and how one assesses right and wrong
  • Explore sacred writing and wisdom traditions; and how people rely on, draw from, find, use what is larger than them—the transcendent

AREA: SOCIETY & CULTURE

To be human is to live within larger social and community contexts. The courses in this area are designed to help students develop a greater sense of their connection to the larger social world. Courses in Society & Culture, will help students develop the ability to explain how social forces shape the human experience. Students will examine key social theories, study methods of investigating social problems, and apply these theories and methods to specific social or historical contexts. Students will:

  • Seriously engage with identity & equity
  • Use quantitative and/or qualitative analysis to explore social issues
  • Understand the forces/powers that shape the human experience
  • Put things into a global context
  • Examine either long time scales or go in depth into an important period

Explore people, ideas, social relations, culture(s), or civilization(s)

  • Use primary sources
  • Engage issues of identity—race and gender; sexuality; belief systems and religion; nationality; class; and others—both in self and in others

AREA: SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERY

Students will be required to take two discovery-based science courses as an introductory level or upper-division course, engaging in ways that both cover content material and demonstrate how scientists work. The courses that fulfill this requirement must provide each student with an authentic scientific discovery, research immersion experience in a laboratory or studio format. Students will:

  • Perform the experimental scientific process by designing and conducting experiments.
  • Analyze data and draw conclusions from raw data
  • Communicate findings in writing, visually, and orally
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the natural world
  • Apply scientific concepts to real world problems

DESIGNATION: CROWN FORUM

Howard Thurman stated that “Over the heads of her students, Morehouse holds a crown that she challenges them to grow tall enough to wear.” Students will be inspired to grow tall enough to wear this crown by attending and reflecting on a range of Crown Forum experiences.

  • Drum Major Instinct: speakers who evoke the College's mission of social justice in the context of black life, history and culture
  • Common set of readings: potentially one or two books that unify the work in some way
  • Integration with BLHAC

DESIGNATION: BLHAC (BLACK LIFE, HISTORY, AND CULTURE)

Consistent with the mission of the College, students will be required to take courses in Black history and culture. Students will learn about the major ideas, people, cultures, themes, and intellectual traditions in Africa and the African Diaspora. They will also integrate learning through work in the following areas:

  • The life, history, and culture of black people: requirement to complete work which positions students to have substantive knowledge and understanding of the history and culture of black people.
  • Service-learning: students will have a commitment to engage in service-learning projects to learn through practice the "drum major instinct." The service learning should be informed by the course, by Crown Forum, and be an opportunity to engage in forms of ethical, servant leadership.
  • Writing-intensive: these should be designed as writing intensive seminars that engage and utilize the support of writing labs.
  • Crown Forum: seminars should increase the level of student engagement with Crown Forum and lay a sound foundation for students to remain engaged with Crown Forum after the first year.
  • Identity: race and manhood in particular should be addressed as part of this work.
  • Integrative: should be a space for some of the integrative work to be done.

DESIGNATION: HEALTH & WELLNESS

There is a critically important relationship between intellectual development and taking good care of your physical self. As such, we want to ensure that students begin to develop a deep understanding of what it means to be in good physical health, how to do so, and to begin to engage in practices that ensure good physical health. This will necessarily mean both physical activity and learning across areas ranging from food and sleep to understanding data and science around one’s physical self, particularly around issues related to Black men. Given this, through this designation, we promote:

  • Knowledge and Skill: knowledge of and development of skills in at least one physical activity.
  • Life-Long Activity: attention to how the physical activity or some related activity can be maintained beyond College, preferably over a life time along with the development of a perspective on the importance to do so.

The Program Structure

The general education program consists of a maximum of 48 credit hours. This includes two Health & Wellness credits, which can now be earned by participation in appropriately coached or guided activities. Students must also complete the Crown Forum requirement.

It is also the case that at least one course can overlap with the major so that the size of the general education core as distinct from the major feels to be more like 45 credit hours. We expect students to be able to complete their general education requirements within three semesters but certainly within their first two years.

What you see below are “points” associated with each requirement. Every credit hour earned in a particular area is a point in that area, but students may earn points in certain areas without earning credit hours. In particular, the Physical Education may be earned without earning credit hours. Similarly, where there is placement for work done without credit earned, you may still earn points—namely, in language and quantitative analysis.

BLHAC [6 PTS]

  • Two Seminars :: 6pts :: at least two courses of at least 3 credit hours each.
  • Points can only be earned by either taking the full course at Morehouse, an approved course transferred from an accredited institution, or an approved combination of course and addendum.

WRITING [8 PTS]

  • » Writing Lab :: 2pts :: at least two 1 credit hour writing labs
  • » Composition :: 3pts :: at least one 3 credit hour composition course.
  • » Critical Writing :: 3pts :: at least one 3 credit hour critical writing course.
  • » All points must be earned as credit hours from courses at an accredited college. Students can transfer approved courses, but cannot use exams to waive this requirement.

LANGUAGE [9 PTS]

  • Any Single Language :: 9pts :: at least 3 credit hours of language at the level of 201 (which necessarily means having earned or proven proficiency in the equivalent of 6 credit hours at previous levels). All points can be earned either through placement or by transferring appropriate, approved work from another accredited institution.

QUANTITATIVE ANALYSIS [6 PTS]

  • Math at or below College Algebra :: 3pts :: either by placement or by coursework, at most 3 credit hours of mathematics at or below the level of College Algebra will count toward fulfillment of the general education requirement. This can be earned by placement into a course at a level higher than College Algebra.
  • Math or Statistics above College Algebra :: 3pts :: A student must take at least 3 credit hours all of which that is at a level above College Algebra. This can be a statistics course provided that the math department qualifies the course as being above this level of rigor. This cannot be earned by placement/examination, but can be earned by approved transfer of credit.

ARTS & LITERATURE [3 PTS]

  • One course :: 3pts :: Any course of at least 3 credit hours in the area.
  • This cannot be earned by placement/examination, but can be earned by approved transfer of credit.

IDEAS & ETHICS [6 PTS]

  • Two courses in qualifying courses :: 6pts :: These courses must each be in different departments or programs and be in the area of Ideas & Ethics as articulated in the previous section.
  • This cannot be earned by placement/examination, but can be earned by approved transfer of credit if it can be reasonably determined that the course fits the rubric for the area.

SOCIETY & CULTURE [6 PTS]

  • Two courses in qualifying courses :: 6pts :: These courses must each be in different departments or programs and be in the area of Society & Culture as articulated in the previous section.
  • This cannot be earned by placement/examination, but can be earned by approved transfer of credit if it can be reasonably determined that the course fits the rubric for the area.

SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERY [8 PTS]

  • Two Distinct Discovery-Based Science Courses :: 8pts :: two 4 credit hour courses in two distinct departments that have the scientific discovery designation.
  • This cannot be earned by placement/examination, but can be earned by approved transfer of credit if it can be reasonably determined that the course fits the rubric for the area.

HEALTH & WELLNESS [2 PTS]

  • Health and Wellness :: 2pts :: at least two 1 credit hour courses or two seasons participating in an approved, coached/guided activity.