A foundation in the liberal arts provides strong underpinnings for students in all majors that allows students to be introduced to knowledge they may not otherwise encounter which allows them to be more maneuverable throughout their careers. The skills and knowledge gained also enables graduates to adapt and thrive within their communities and as engaged members of society. In short, the “Gen Ed” prepares you for life, work, and future success!
General Education is that “part of a liberal education that is shared by all students. It provides broad exposure to multiple disciplines and forms the basis for developing essential intellectual, civic, and practical capacities.” (Association of American Colleges & Universities)
General Education Curriculum
The general education curriculum at Salem State University will immerse you in a series of learning experiences in which you will acquire new skills and understandings, be exposed to different academic disciplines, and improve your fundamental academic and life skills. The curriculum is designed to complement your major and provide you with a firm foundation for future growth and success as an innovative and engaged citizen within your community and beyond. All of this supports the goal of preparing you for life and work in a rapidly changing world.
The general education curriculum is composed of core categories from which students may select courses. The categories are not tied to specific disciplines, but rather focus on skills and ways of understanding the world in which we live. Courses within each category are available from numerous disciplines and departments.
In addition to the categories listed below, all students have a requirement Diversity, Power Dynamics, and Social Justice (DPDS) which is an institutional commitment to develop and teach different ways of thinking which have been drawn from and address the multiple histories and cultural heritages that shape the United States. Our DPDS requirement does not add a course, but allow you to choose a course from many of the categories below so that you can engage in a cross cultural analysis of historical and contemporary inequities such as those associated with race, ethnicity, sex and gender, sexual orientation, nationality, ability, religion, age, or socio-economic status.
General Education Categories and Learning Outcomes
First year seminars serve as launching pads for exploration and discovery, providing students with an opportunity to look at the world and specific issues and topics in a whole new way. These unique seminar-style courses are focused on collaborative learning in a way that introduces students to the experience of academic exploration that is at the heart of a liberal arts education at Salem State University.
Written Communication – provides an introduction to the foundational knowledge, literacies, and composing strategies that will help prepare students for writing across disciplines, in the workplace, and in their local and global communities.
Oral Communication – designed to develop the oral communication skills necessary for effective and ethical personal, professional, and civic communication.
Personal Growth and Responsibility – provides students with the opportunity to demonstrate increased ethical understanding of how their physical, spiritual, emotional, social, environmental, intellectual, financial and/or occupational habits and behaviors impact their personal well-being and their community.
Creative Expression and Appreciation – provides an opportunity to develop an informed appreciation of the aesthetic and formal properties of the performing, visual, and literary arts, fostering an understanding of these works within the broader context of human life and culture.
World Cultures – students will explore cultural diversity and worldviews and acquire an understanding of and sensitivity to other cultural perspectives as a way to challenge and enrich their own.
Human Past – students will be introduced to a conceptual understanding of the relationship of past to present, engage the concepts of causality and change over time, and develop skills and competencies in a comparative analysis and evidence-based interpretation.
Contemporary Society –will introduce students to concepts and theories about the evidence-based analysis of human behavior, social relations and social institutions.
Scientific Reasoning – will expose students to scientific inquiry and to scientific methods of exploring the physical and natural worlds. Students will learn to apply the scientific method and develop analytic skills.
Quantitative Reasoning – students will use both quantitative data and abstract quantitative models to compute useful quantities, make predictions, and draw conclusions, allowing them to communicate using quantitative data, build or select appropriate models, and find appropriate models for such models.