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College Curriculum Goals
College Curriculum Goals
A Randolph-Macon education should emphasize the development of critical thinking skills. This must be accomplished not only by transmitting established knowledge and skills, but by fostering in students the habits of mind and character required to develop a receptivity to new ideas; a disposition for applying the most rigorous criticism to all ideas and institutions, old and new; the ability to test hypotheses and re- interpret human experience; and a desire to engage in a lifetime learning experience. These are essential attributes if our graduates are to be adaptable to the societal, environmental, and other changes they will encounter in their lifetimes. The curriculum should encourage in students those inner capacities that will be most rewarding to them in public and private life -- imagination, openness and flexibility of mind, the ability to analyze and express one's philosophy, and a sensitive insight into human nature.
The curriculum of the College must be designed to develop effective skills of oral and written communication. By this, we mean that students should become better listeners as well as better speakers, and better readers as well as better writers. Students should develop skills for writing clear, cohesive arguments, and they should learn to read critically. Furthermore, since the means of communication continue to change, our students should be prepared to embrace emerging technology for effective communication. Finally, we believe that the abilities to speak and write effectively should be extended to at least one foreign language.
A Randolph-Macon education should increase open- mindedness and respect for diverse cultures, persons and ideas. By this we mean more than understanding foreign cultures. We hope to develop in students an appreciation for difference among people, whether this difference be racial, religious, economic, or ethnic. The curriculum should encourage students to overcome the narrowness of cultural provincialism.
Students should develop a sense of historical perspective. We assume that an educated man or woman should have a sense of the purposes of civilization and a knowledge of its accomplishments. Furthermore, we believe that students should understand the continuity of history and develop an understanding of the interrelatedness of knowledge from a broad, historical perspective. This historical perspective should include a knowledge of the historical developments within the particular disciplines being studied.
The curriculum should provide avenues for creativity and aesthetic awareness. The curriculum should allow students to gain experience with the creative process as it pertains to their chosen major fields. By stating this goal, we maintain that intellectual life is governed by more than simply critical thinking. A good education within any discipline should include an aspect of applied creativity. We also believe that the artistic disciplines of painting and sculpture, music, literature, and drama are avenues for creative expression. Students should gain an awareness of these forms of expression as a part of their educational experience.
The curriculum should provide students with a knowledge of the major principles of natural, physical and mathematical science, an appreciation of the powers and limitations of science, and an understanding of current issues in science and technology. The curriculum should provide the student with an understanding of the natural forces and principles which determine the physical environment and how humans function in and influence their environment. Graduates of the College should be aware of technology, how it is used and how it influences society, and they should be capable of employing technology appropriately. Since mathematics and computer science are basic to much of science and technology, and to other disciplines as well, the curriculum should provide an adequate foundation in these areas.
The curriculum should enable Randolph-Macon students to develop a philosophy of life which seeks to serve the good of humanity through moral and ethical awareness and responsibility. We believe that our graduates should be good citizens, with a knowledge of the democratic process, a deep concern for other inhabitants of this earth, and a sense of responsibility for their actions. Since self-reflection is necessary in developing a philosophy, the curriculum must awaken in students the desire to perform this analysis.
The College's curriculum should emphasize active learning. The Randolph-Macon learning experience should be education through engagement. In order to accomplish this goal, the curriculum must inspire in students a desire to explore the unknown; it must stimulate curiosity. Active learning means that students must drive the learning process in at least some portion of their studies at the College.
Students should gain a deep understanding in a major field. This depth is required to enable graduates to function in a world driven by information. Majors should be of sufficient strength for bright students to gain graduate school admissions in the field of their choice. Depth of instruction should also enable those qualified and seeking professional careers in medicine or law to gain admission to these post-graduate opportunities. One aspect of depth of study within a major is an experience which culminates the study. Each student should participate in some activity which draws together principles from various courses of study, examines a topic of special interest using skills and abilities drawn from several courses, or invites comparisons and contrasts about components of the major courses of instruction.
An educated person should possess more than simply discrete bits of information and a disjoint set of skills. Thus, the concepts of synthesis and integration must be engendered within the educational program of the College. Students should be able to see connections in knowledge and relationships among various disciplines. As such, the curriculum of the College should include multiple opportunities for students to synthesize and integrate the information they have learned and the skills they have mastered.
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