The Integrative Liberal Studies (ILS) Program
Summary of Draft Architecture
Total credit hours: 49 credit hours (and a distribution of intensive courses, that can be taken in or outside the general education curriculum)
I: The Liberal Studies Introductory Colloquium—Frequently, the concept of the liberal arts is unfamiliar to students as they enter UNCA. Students may be unaware of the challenges and opportunities a liberal arts education offers, and how they might differ from those at other types of institutions. The LSIC is a topical seminar with a writing-intensive and FYE component; equally important, the course will introduce students to the study and construction of knowledge in the liberal arts setting. LSIC may also have D, Q, or I designations.
II: The Skills and Methods Courses—Critical thinking, written communication, quantitative reasoning, scientific method and practice, and foreign language skills are necessary for a liberal education which enables life-long learning. Through the acquisition and development of these skills, a liberal arts education allows individuals to construct and evaluate knowledge.
III: ILS Humanities Core and Topical Clusters—As part of their liberal arts education, students should have exposure to the Humanities in their historical development. Liberal arts students should experience how the disciplines investigate, understand and construct bodies of knowledge differently, through a range of concepts and methods. A liberal arts education exposes the student to the ways that individual disciplines approach those topics, problems, and issues that inform the human condition. Such an education creates opportunities for students to experience the many points of contact and divergence across the curriculum.
This program has two primary dimensions. First, students take a historical core sequence in the Humanities that examines the intellectual and cultural development of Western and non-Western systems of belief and practice. Second, students fulfill topical cluster component that explores a problem, issue, or idea, engaging it through disciplinary and interdisciplinary methods.
The Humanities Core: Students will take 3 courses in the Humanities Core sequence; students may also take an additional course in the Arts within this Core, unless they choose to fulfill the Arts requirement elsewhere in the curriculum (see below).
The Topical Clusters: A cluster is a set of courses that explore a problem, issue or idea, engaging it through disciplinary and interdisciplinary methods. Students must complete 5 courses from two clusters, and their choices must include 2 Social Science courses, 1 Natural Science course, and 1 Arts course, unless they use another route for the Arts requirement (see below).
The Arts: The Arts are a central part of a true liberal arts education, and have traditionally brought together widely ranging ideas, beliefs, and practices into a creative synthesis. In the Arts requirement, students will have an intellectual engagement with Art and the creative process. This engagement may take several forms, depending on a student’s needs and interest. The Arts requirement may be taken as part of the ILS Core, either through the Arts and Ideas Program or as a 3-hour course linked to one of the 3 courses in the Historical Core. In addition, this requirement may also be satisfied in an ILS Cluster, as a topical course; or by taking 3 hours, in any combination, of applied art courses or workshops from an approved list in the catalog.
IV: Liberal Studies Intensive Courses—An integrative liberal arts experience allows students to develop skills and extend their learning throughout their university career. This type of education also promotes linkage across the curriculum. Intensive Courses offer curricular emphases in skills and content areas as a way for students to deepen their Liberal Studies education and integrate it with other offerings in their academic experience. Students may take courses designated as Intensives within the general education program, in their majors, or among their electives. These courses do not add credit hours, but need to be fulfilled for graduation.
V: Health Promotion and Wellness—Aristotle argued that for a life that is flourishing and self-aware a sound body is as important as a sound mind. This course introduces students to theories of health and wellness, and includes their application to physical activity.
VI: The Liberal Studies Senior Colloquium—Liberal arts study encourages a synthesis of the wide range of experience—curricular and co-curricular—that a student will have during his or her academic career. The Liberal Studies Senior Colloquium is a topical seminar and capstone experience for the general education program at UNCA, which offers students the opportunity to bring together the wide array of interests and learning they have acquired in the course of their studies. Each LSSC will examine its topic through an inter- or multi-disciplinary approach, which will include the Humanities, Social Sciences, and Natural Sciences. The Senior Colloquium will include an element of experience that extends the topics under discussion by incorporating a project for each student. Such projects may involve service learning, an internship experience, research, or creative performance. The internship or research may have been done within the student’s major if it can be effectively communicated to the other members of the class.