Liberal Core Curriculum

The core curriculum reflects the Jesuit ideal of a well-rounded education and the development of inquisitive, life-long learners. By introducing students to fundamental intellectual skills and methods, or modes of inquiry, employed in the pursuit of knowledge, the core curriculum cultivates a broad range of student intellectual abilities. It consists of 52 hours organized around the Seven Classical Modes of Inquiry (art, history, literature, behavioral and natural sciences, philosophy, and theology); coursework focused on developing proficiencies in oral communication, written communication, and mathematics; and a global perspectives requirement.

The proficiency & core requirements allow you to track progress toward requirement fulfillment.
 

The Seven Modes of Inquiry

The modes of inquiry - that is, the methods or systems by which the human intellect pursues some essential knowledge, truth, or aspect of truth - give structure to the core curriculum in a way that encourages the full development of students in various aspects of their humanity.



The Artistic Mode of Inquiry

This is the exploration through study and practice of the imaginative expression of the human condition through objects and processes which communicate by non-verbal means. By studying and working in at least one form of the fine or performing arts, students learn to understand and articulate the relationship between artistic form and expression. They come to understand that the formal and expressive language of the arts can transcend cultural barriers, thus enlarging our understanding of our world. Students must successfully complete three hours of level-one approved coursework in art, music, or theatre.

Student Learning Outcomes

As a result of coursework in this Mode, students will be able to:

  • Explain the aesthetic and historical principles that constitute the context for artistic works or processes.
  • Actively participate in an artistic process.
  • Apply a broad foundation of discipline-specific knowledge in describing a live experience with an art field. 


The Historic Mode of Inquiry

This is the systematic recollection and analysis of significant past events. Our collective memories, given shape and discipline by methods designed to explore the past, provide the experience from which we define the present and consider the future. The human past and human cultures are understood not in isolation, but in the context of broader trends and developments. When we pursue the historical mode of inquiry we add chronological perspective, persuasive stories, and analytical skills to raw human memory. Students must successfully complete at least one approved three-hour level-one course in the history of civilization. They must also successfully complete at least one approved three-hour level-two course in either the historical or the literary mode of inquiry.

Student Learning Outcomes

As a result of coursework in this Mode, students will be able to:

Read and comprehend complete and/or excerpted primary historical documents, based on a
demonstrated ability to:

  • Summarize the essential content of the document;
  • Identify key themes, and
  • Explain the background and historical context of the document (time, place, cultural conditions, links to other course readings and topics).

Read and comprehend works of secondary historical scholarship, based on a demonstrated ability
to:

  • Identify the key themes in the text;
  • Give examples of supporting data and specific detail; and
  • Describe the relationship between the themes and the supporting data (indicate how the details of the historical text contribute to and support the identified themes).

In level II courses in the historical mode of inquiry, as completed by some students to fulfill a
University core curriculum requirement, students will be able to demonstrate the skills articulated in
SLO1 and SLO2 (level I) and, in addition, students will be able to understand, on a basic level,
the essential nature of history as a complex, dynamic process of story-telling and interpretation of
past events, based on a demonstrated ability to:

  • Recognize a sequence of chronology in a text;
  • Give examples of the interconnection among events (i.e. how one event or series of events/developments leads or contributes to another;
  • Explain the concept of historical periods as post-facto chronological divisions devised to facilitate understanding of the characteristics of a designated era.

In level II and major courses, including the required HS4000 Colloquium on the Great Historians
and HS4900 Senior Seminar, students will be able to demonstrate all the skills describe above for
the modal learning goals. In addition students will be able to:

  • Utilize important historical skills, including the ability to research and to write effectively on historical topics.


The Literary Mode of Inquiry

This mode of inquiry explores the imaginative expression of human experience through the various aspects of language. The process of expressing ourselves through language shapes our knowing and organizes our experience. The employment of language to provide identifiable symbols and images creates an understanding of truths and idea; it also gives structure and meaning which clarify our ideas in our own expression and in the written work of others by comprehending and analyzing the figurative significance found in the literal statement. Familiarity with languages and cultures other than one's own further expands the student's entry into the literary mode and extends the invitation to compare and experience different views of the world. Students must successfully complete at least one approved three-hour level-one course in literature. They must also successfully complete at least one approved three-hour level-two course in either the literary or the historical mode of inquiry.

Student Learning Outcomes

As a result of coursework in this Mode, students will be able to:

  • Engage in active reading of literary works both to comprehend the literal meaning and to identify a major theme in the work.

Other goals include:

  • To experience the genres of literature: fiction, poetry, drama, etc.
  • To develop critical thinking skills: analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.
  • To learn from our literary legacy what constitutes both the diversity and the universality of the nature of the human person.
  • To recognize the human struggle for identity and the attempts to resolve the tension between self and culture, between the physical world and the spiritual world.
  • To appreciate the relationship of human beings to one another and to develop respect for the diversity of human experience expressed in literary language in various cultures, ages, and personalities.
  • To understand the relationship of cultures to one another and of the present to the past.
  • To teach how to use our literary legacy as an accountable and valid reference, a body of knowledge and a source of comparison in an ongoing study of the human condition.
  • To prepare students to build on that legacy by learning varied means of recording and communicating their understanding of the literary experience which they are engaged in interpreting and evaluating.
  • To enable the student to evaluate and develop appreciation for the array of means to express oneself and one’s response to the world in a concrete and accessible way (through such rational means as use of conventional grammar, syntax, overall structure, organization, and classification;
  • through such creative means of imagery as symbol, metaphor, and other forms of analogy).


The Scientific-Causal Mode of Inquiry

Scientific modes of inquiry are logical systems of principles and procedures developed to discover the shape, form, properties, and behavior of the constituent parts of nature. This mode requires rigorous tests of hypotheses and confidence statements about causality, and the explanations that result have as their ultimate goal the falsification or confirmation of theories. This mode of inquiry relies on controlled scientific experiments which can reveal causal relationships. Students must successfully complete at least one approved four-hour level-one course in science. This course must have a laboratory component. Students must also successfully complete at least one approved level-two three-hour course in either the scientific-causal or scientific-relational mode of inquiry.

Student Learning Outcomes

As a result of coursework in this Mode, students will be able to:

  • Describe and apply the fundamental concepts and theories central to the study of a particular topic or discipline in the natural and physical sciences.
  • Experience first-hand the scientific process through discovery-based learning in a laboratory or field setting.
  • Appraise the physical world in a consistent and objective manner through careful observation of causal relationships interpreted within a framework of biological, chemical, and physical laws and principles as appropriate to the particular topic or discipline in the natural and physical sciences.
  • Apply scientific reasoning and methods of inquiry, such as formulating testable hypotheses, designing informative experiments, or collecting experimental or observational data that explain phenomena in the natural world.
  • Utilize scientific reasoning in the analysis of scientific solutions, challenges, and limitations.
  • Interpret scientific data, qualitatively and quantitatively, in order to derive conclusions appropriate to the scope and quality of the data.


The Scientific-Relational Mode of Inquiry

The various forms of the relational mode of inquiry seek to describe the naturally occurring variation of individuals, social groups, species, or objects. This mode of inquiry is grounded in the systematic collection, organization, and classification of observations that are measured either qualitatively or quantitatively. Such inquiry may be either descriptive or relational, and may lead to theories which explain observed relationships and generate testable hypotheses. Students must successfully complete one level-one course and one level-one or level-two course in a social or behavioral science. Two different disciplines must be represented. Students must also successfully complete at least one approved level-two three-hour course in either the scientific-relational or scientific-causal mode of inquiry.

Student Learning Outcomes

As a result of coursework in this Mode, students will be able to:

  • Evaluate the credibility and validity of knowledge claims based on the source of information used to make the claim
  • Identify and define significant variables in research, describe how variables are assessed, and articulate how explanations of phenomena are related to data
  • Locate relevant sources of information in the discipline
  • Identify and describe methods, results, conclusions, and implications of research in the discipline
  • Identify and describe appropriate research methods in the study of specific questions in the discipline
  • Accurately summarize and communicate research
  • Articulate the important role statistical description plays as a means of communication
  • Identify and describe alternative explanations for an observation or pattern of data
  • Articulate the limitations of data, the possibility of alternative explanation of data, and the misuse of data, and distinctions among causality, contingency, correlation and coincidence
  • Identify theoretical perspectives in the discipline and basic assumptions associated with those perspectives
  • Identify concepts in the discipline and explain how those concepts can be applied to real-world problems and issues 


The Philosophical Mode of Inquiry

This mode of inquiry makes claims about knowledge regarding ourselves and the world, and critiques such claims. It seeks to acquaint students with an organized body of knowledge based on moral experience, and which shows the student how to critically evaluate the grounds for judging human conduct. It seeks ways to improve logical techniques in identifying, explaining, and evaluating assumptions, concepts, and arguments. It seeks ways of distinguishing philosophical understanding from other ways of knowing, and it imparts skill in identifying and critiquing the assumptions of other disciplines. Students must successfully complete at least one approved three-hour level-one course in philosophy, and at least one approved three-hour level-two course in ethical theory. They must also successfully complete at least one approved level-two three-hour course in either philosophy or theology.

Student Learning Outcomes

As a result of coursework in this Mode, students will be able to:

  • Explain the philosophical and ethical concepts and theories of outstanding philosophers and/or historically important theories.
  • Analyze the central arguments of philosophical texts.
  • Evaluate critical interpretations of important philosophical texts.
  • Synthesize his or her own critical interpretation of important philosophical texts, taking into consideration significant philosophical issues, traditions, and critiques of the texts.
  • Evaluate rightness of conduct concerning moral and social issues according to ethical theories and methods. 


The Theological Mode of Inquiry

Christian theological inquiry is a critical, methodic, ongoing exploration, examination, and development of the content of Christian religious faith in an attempt to understand and to express the content of that faith in the most adequate and appropriate concepts and language available. Moreover, this mode of inquiry seeks to express the meaning and significance of Christian religious faith for the whole lives of individuals and communities committed to that faith so that they can realize it as fully as possible, and also, so that those external to Christianity have the best opportunity for understanding the intellectual and existential aspects of that religious faith. In so doing, theological inquiry attempts to articulate an adequate and appropriate Christian theistic vision of existence which spells out an intellectually compelling understanding of itself and concomitantly, a holistically satisfying account of the significance and destiny of human life in all its complexities within that Christian Vision. Critical religious studies of faiths other than Christianity enrich and complement this mode of inquiry; these studies are an important part of Christian theological inquiry. Students must successfully complete TH 100 Christianity I: Foundations and TH 300 Christianity II: Development and at least one other approved three-hour level-two course in either theology and religious studies or philosophy.

Student Learning Outcomes

As a result of coursework in this Mode, students will be able to:

  • Identify and critically analyze four religious beliefs and associated practices.
  • Evaluate texts according to historical context and theological significance, and/or literary criticism where appropriate.
  • Apply methods of theological inquiry and/or religious studies to a text or set of practices in order to analyze them.



The Proficiencies



Oral Communication

This proficiency involves skill in critical listening and oral communication. Students become proficient through regular, sustained, intensive practice. They learn to recognize, identify, and analyze interpersonal, public, cross-cultural, verbal, and nonverbal communication, and they learn to apply these skills in a variety of situations. Students must successfully complete at least one approved three-hour course in college-level oral communication.

Student Learning Outcomes

As a result of coursework in this Proficiency, students will be able to:

  • Identify such elements as form, purpose, context, and rhetorical methods through the systematic study and application of the rhetorical canons and modes of proof through course exams, along with presenting and evaluating speeches within the class.
  • Identify conventions of oral communication appropriate to receiver(s) and purpose through in-class exercises and course exams.
  • Analyze rational and affective content and how it is conveyed effectively and ethically (i.e. invention, arrangement, style, delivery, memoria, ethos, pathos, logos) by critically evaluating other students’ and/or outside speakers’ oral presentations.
  • Apply methods of acquiring knowledge and developing messages (i.e., library research, interviewing, reasoning skills) by using the acquired knowledge to construct and present speeches within the class.
  • Apply methods of effective oral expression of knowledge, ideas, and emotions through interpersonal, oral presentation, impromptu, informal, persuasive, and group presentations through in-class exercises and participation, oral presentations and group projects.
  • Explain how individual identity affects the communication process through in-class exercises, class discussions and course exams.


Written Communication

Proficient writing is the process of selecting, combining, and developing ideas in effective sentences, paragraphs, and longer units of discourse. Writers must cope with many variables: method of development, purpose, tone, possible audiences, mode of composition, and copy-editing. Learning to write at the college level involves developing skill in using and combining these variables to shape appropriate messages for various situations. Generally, students must successfully complete two approved three-hour courses in college-level composition. Advanced students may satisfy the proficiency in written communication by one approved advanced composition course.

Student Learning Outcomes

As a result of coursework in this Proficiency, students will be able to:

  • Compose clear, effective sentences that display principles of style, grammar, and punctuation, without errors that interfere with meaning.
  • Address an intended audience effectively in a variety of writing situations.
  • Use reflection to gain insight into their own reading and writing practices.
  • Use basic research methods, to find and integrate appropriate electronic and print sources into their writing.


Mathematics

People who are mathematically proficient have well-developed skills in deductive reasoning and the ability to apply those skills in an informed manner. Mathematics is a natural vehicle for building critical thinking skills because it involves postulation, logical reasoning, and symbol manipulation. The ability to propose an idea, construct a logical sequence of supporting statements, and capture the characteristic features of the idea in symbolic form are central features of critical thought. Proficiency in mathematics also equips students with an ability to understand and participate in a highly technical society. Students must successfully complete at least one approved three-hour course in college-level mathematics.

Student Learning Outcomes

As a result of coursework in this Proficiency, students will be able to:

  • Use mathematical arguments to reason.
  • Solve problems in novel settings using mathematics.
  • Apply concepts acquired independently through the reading of mathematics.
  • Effectively communicate mathematical ideas in writing. 



The Requirement



Global Perspectives Requirement

In becoming global citizens committed to service in the contemporary world, Rockhurst students develop knowledge of, and appreciation and respect for, world cultures and a commitment to global, lifelong learning. They learn to apply critical thinking skills that foster development of the competencies and behaviors required to live in a global community. Students must successfully complete at least one approved three-hour, upper-division course with a Global Perspectives designation. Students can also fulfill this requirement with two semesters of the same college-level second language.

Student Learning Outcomes

As a result of coursework, students will be able to:

  • Identify and explain the similarities and differences between at least two cultures.
  • Explain how individual identities, attitudes, and values are products of culture.
  • Identify keys global issues and their impact on local, regional, national, and international circumstances and events.
  • Reflect on their own culture as it may be seen from outside that culture.
  • Interact with those from other cultures with sensitivity and awareness.
  • Explain the role and effectiveness of both market and non-market institutions within the relevant political and economic contexts.
  • Think critically beyond their own socially-embedded and/or localized sets of values and norms.
  • Analyze their role and responsibilities as a member of the global community.