February 8, 2009

Proposed Purposes and Goals Statement for the LAC

January 16, 2009

Purposes and Goals of the Liberal Arts Core

Students at the University of Northern Iowa acquire the foundation for a liberal arts education through the Liberal Arts Core. Within the LAC students learn to recognize the interconnectedness of areas of knowledge, gain new perspectives on diverse cultures and the world around us, and increase their strategies for solving the complex problems they will encounter in the future. The Liberal Arts Core deepens the commitment to personal development, encourages thoughtful and ethical decision making, promotes life-long learning, and helps prepare students for lives that are meaningful, creative and productive.

The LAC seeks to attain its purpose through fostering growth in three interrelated areas—skills, knowledge and perspectives.

Skills

Courses throughout the LAC enhance skills that provide a foundation for intellectual growth, vocational achievement, and civic responsibility. Development of verbal and visual communication skills, quantitative reasoning, and information and technological literacy strengthens critical thinking, creative problem solving, aesthetic awareness, and the ability to cultivate effective interpersonal and social relationships.

Knowledge

The Liberal Arts Core expands awareness of the disciplines of knowledge and increases appreciation for the realms of human achievement. Understanding and making connections among diverse fields of learning fosters multiple ways of viewing problems and innovative approaches to solving complex issues.

Perspectives

The LAC prepares students to develop creative approaches to the complex issues they will face as 21st century citizens. Through exposure to a variety of cultures and diverse perspectives, students are better able to understand their personal and social responsibility as members within the interconnected global community.

Responses Requested for proposed "Purposes and Goals" Statement for the LAC

The Liberal Arts Core (LAC), required within all UNI baccalaureate programs, consists of requirements within six categories (see reverse side of this page). For each of these categories, faculty have approved a statement of its “purpose” and also a statement for use on syllabi of courses within the category. These may be viewed at the LAC website as follows:
Purposes by Category,”
Category Statements for Use on Course Syllabi,

Useful as these statements may be for the six LAC categories, we lack a succinct yet comprehensive statement of the Purposes and Goals for our Liberal Arts Core in its entirety. Such a statement could helps us establish more clearly the interrelationships among the six categories of the LAC and convey more effectively how integral the entire LAC is to the present and future learning of our students. The statement could also serve to guide future review and improvement of the LAC.

The Liberal Arts Core Committee has now composed a draft statement of the LAC’s Purposes and Goals, which is attached. This draft seeks to express what is essential to the LAC as a whole in a concise way. We now seek responses and suggestions from the University community—faculty, students, and staff. What in this draft works well? How might this draft be strengthened?

Comments and suggestions may be posted and read at this blog
Responses may also be sent to LAC Coordinator, Siobahn Morgan by campus mail (zip code 0335) or e-mail (siobahn.morgan@uni.edu). Any requests for confidentiality will be honored. Questions or concerns may also be directed to Siobahn Morgan.

Please submit your comments by Monday, March 9th. All comments submitted will be considered by the LAC Committee as it prepares a final version to be submitted to the University Faculty Senate before the end of Spring Semester. We do appreciate your consideration of this request for your assistance.

The Liberal Arts Core Committee