The Elmhurst College Integrated Curriculum (ECIC) is designed to inspire students to form themselves intellectually and personally and also to prepare for meaningful and ethical work. The Integrated Curriculum is designed to help students develop over the entirety of their time at Elmhurst College. It proceeds from the recognition that concentrated specialization alone is not enough to prepare students to succeed. Information and procedures soon become outdated; the job one has prepared to do proves limited, or the knowledge one has becomes obsolete. This integrated program seeks to prepare students to be lifelong learners in a changing economy and a developing global society.
The Integrated Curriculum rests on the College’s 11 educational goals. It seeks to educate students in three ways: exposing them to areas of knowledge, requiring them to have practice and/or proficiency in skills, and expecting them to have several experiences to assist in value development. The program prioritizes four outcomes defined by the faculty: critical thinking, effective communication, understanding and employing the content and perspectives of varied disciplines, and valuing tolerance and social justice. In addition, the program is committed to integrative and applied to learn: as such, a central theme of this curriculum is that of integrating, of connecting between and among the disciplines, from classroom to experience, across liberal and professional studies, between general education and the major.
The Integrated Curriculum itself includes developmental requirements that run throughout the student’s time at Elmhurst College. It is founded on four proficiencies that all students must address. Thereafter it includes required work in nine areas of knowledge and seven skill and value development areas. There is no set number of courses in the Integrated Curriculum.
Requirements in these areas, along with appropriate objectives and outcomes as set by the faculty, are specified in the sections below. Unless specifically approved by the faculty, independent study courses may not be used to fulfill Integrated Curriculum requirements.
Developmental requirements to be completed by all students include a first-year seminar, English 106 (the required first-year writing course), and a senior capstone experience. Further, the writing skill development course must be completed at the upper (300 or 400) level. The first-year seminar, ENG 106, and the required writing skill development course must be taken for a letter grade; grading in the senior capstone is determined by the offering department. In addition, all Elmhurst College students are required to complete an experiential learning requirement that integrates classroom learning with related experiences outside the college classroom. These experiences, which may include internships courses, clinical work in the discipline, study abroad, or service learning, also contain a formal reflective component. Students who are at least 24 years old in the year in which they enroll are considered to have satisfied the experiential learning requirement.
In order to be equipped to master the Integrated Curriculum, students must complete proficiency requirements in three areas: mathematics, foreign language, and writing. Courses that meet these proficiencies are offered each term; however, each proficiency may also be met by a variety of placement tests, AP credit, and other means as defined by the faculty. The proficiencies are foundational to further academic success and should be completed as soon as possible after a student’s entry to the College, and in any event, must be addressed no later than the end of sophomore year. Transfer students should meet the three proficiencies within the first year after admission. New adult students who graduated from secondary school more than six years ago or are at least 24 years old in the year in which they enroll are exempt from meeting the foreign language proficiency. Specific proficiency requirements are available in the Office of Advising or online.
Areas of Knowledge
Students complete work in the nine areas of knowledge indicated below, which represent the three broad realms of knowledge. Each area of knowledge is conceived of as multidisciplinary and goal driven, accommodating courses from more than one department. A limited number of bi-disciplinary courses are available which meet two area of knowledge requirements.
No more than two area of knowledge requirements can be satisfied within a single department. In order to meet an area of knowledge requirement, a course must be taken for a letter grade. Area descriptions and learning objectives are presented below. Specific courses meeting the various area of knowledge requirements for 2019-2020 are listed on BlueNet.
Interpretation and Identity
These courses examine religious, philosophical, symbolic, and aesthetic approaches to the human experience, moral and ethical development, and the discovery and structuring of meaning.
Inquiry into Ethics and Justice (IEJ)
These courses explore theories and instances of justice and injustice in current and historical human societies. Students will analyze different systems of values that inform how people interact as individuals as well as members of larger societal groups. Courses in this area examine ethical reasoning bearing on such principles as liberty, rights, dissent, moral status, equality, and justice.
- Understand several distinct systems of ethical reasoning and theories of value and justice.
- Evaluate in their contexts specific historical and contemporary theories or actions.
- Articulate and evaluate multiple perspectives on ethics and social justice.
Religious Studies in Context (RSC)
The aim of these courses is to help students explore and understand different religious theories, terms, symbols, images, beliefs, practices, scriptures, institutions, persons, themes and stories in their linguistic, historical, cultural, and intellectual context.
- Identify major theoretical approaches to the study of religions.
- Recognize specific religions in their respective contexts.
- Interpret religions as formed by their contexts and those contexts as shaped by religious traditions.
The literature area of knowledge focuses on the interpretation and appreciation of the imaginative, aesthetic uses of language as these are reflected in poetry, fiction, drama, and certain non-fiction texts. Courses in this area examine the various literary techniques for the creation of meaning and pleasure and reflect on the ways in which literary works influence, and are influenced by, their historical contexts.
As a result of completing a course in the literature area, students should improve in their ability to do the following:
- Identify various literary techniques, creative uses of language, and traditions, and interpret them within their relevant contexts.
- Perceive the deeper issues addressed in aesthetic texts and articulate their continuing personal and social relevance.
- Understand how different cultures encode their values, whether shared or contested, in the various kinds of imaginative writing.
Fine Arts (FA)
As a unique vehicle for the expansion of imagination and emotions, this category aspires to make students aware of the impact of the arts on human endeavor and to inspire creativity in all aspects of life. A distinctive goal of this requirement is to expose students to artistic expression that is outside the limits of primarily technical, literary, or quantitative media.
- Identify the components of the creative process.
- Analyze the formal elements of the medium and the artist’s application in creating expression.
- Identify and interpret expressive differences in works of art.
- Gain awareness of the history and scope of the medium.
Societies, Individuals and Cultures
These courses examine human thought and behavior, politics, cultures, and societies utilizing the methodologies of history and social science.
Historical Analysis (HA)
Courses in this category examine societies, cultures, events, ideas, and individuals in their historical context. As such, they provide a broad base of knowledge and critical skills-analysis, interpretation, synthesis-which play an integrative role in liberal learning.
- Acquire a broad knowledge of the past, extending over a substantial period of time, and understood on its own terms.
- Use such knowledge to understand the past and its relevance to the present.
- Exercise appropriate interdisciplinary methods and tools for the interpretation of appropriate sources.
- Assess primary sources by means of critical analysis, and place them in historical context.
Social and Political Analysis (SPA)
Courses in this category examine the social, political, economic and cultural institutions that shape the environments of individuals and groups. Students will study how power relationships within and among these institutions affect various subgroups in the population. Paradigms, theories, and methodologies used in this analysis will be examined, utilized and evaluated.
- Describe social, political, economic and cultural institutions and processes, the relationships between them, and their impact on individuals and groups.
- Describe how differences of class, race, ethnicity, and gender are related to these institutions and their outcomes.
- Identify, use, and evaluate the paradigms, theories, and methodologies which describe and explain social, political, economic, and cultural institutions and their outcomes.
- Identify means through which individuals can affect change in social, political, economic or cultural institutions.
Cognitive and Behavioral Sciences (CBS)
These courses provide a basic understanding of the nature of human thought, the behavior of the individual within society, and the methods for studying these phenomena.
- Understand conceptual, psychological, biological, behavioral, or other related methods to analyze the nature of human thought.
- Understand the major concepts and methods used by cognitive, behavioral, or social scientists to explain human behavior.
- Understand how individual thought and action influence and are influenced by the social, political, and economic forces of contemporary society.
These courses examine physical and/or living systems allowing students to understand and appreciate the interdependence of natural systems. All courses in the natural science realm include laboratory experiences in which the student will collect, organize and interpret primary data. Through courses in this realm, students gain an understanding of how scientific concepts develop, how they are joined into theoretical structures and how these structures are validated.
Physical Science (PS)
Students will acquire a basic understanding of fundamental physical concepts, relationships, and theories through the study of matter, energy, and forces of nature. Students will be able to apply this understanding to questions relevant to everyday life by being able to:
- Make measurements of physical quantities, create and interpret charts and graphs containing physical data, and draw conclusions from those data.
- Explain contemporary theories regarding the composition, structure, properties, and dynamics of matter on the atomic, molecular, human, planetary or cosmic scale.
- Describe how a hypothesis explaining physical phenomena is evaluated and refined through experimentation and data analysis.
- Use knowledge of physical principles to make informed decisions about contemporary consumer, social, ethical or environmental issues.
Life Science (LS)
Students will acquire a basic understanding of the fundamental processes and requirements of living things, their impact on everyday life, and methods for studying living systems ethically and responsibly.
- Know and understand the theories and requirements of living systems which may include cells, tissues, organs, organisms, populations, and/or ecosystems.
- Apply the scientific method ethically to observations made about living systems by designing experiments with proper controls, collecting data, and reporting results in an appropriate format.
- Use this knowledge to make informed decisions about contemporary consumer, social, ethical, or environmental issues.
Skill and Value Development Requirements
The Elmhurst College Integrated Curriculum also includes requirements in the areas of skill and value development. These skill and value areas, which may be met at a variety of levels, have been identified by the faculty as essential for continued intellectual development and lifelong learning.
Courses which meet these requirements are identified by means of “tagging,” indicating that the faculty has approved the particular course as meeting the objectives of that skill or value development area. Both areas of knowledge and major courses may be tagged. To count for the tag requirement, a course must be completed for a letter grade except for courses that are offered only on a Pass/No Pass basis. Specific courses meeting these skill and value requirements for 2019-2020 are indicated on BlueNet.
Note: Transfer students should carefully review their credit evaluation upon entrance – certain transferred courses may not carry the tag associated with the course taken at Elmhurst.
An academic skill is used to successfully learn across a variety of academic disciplines. Therefore, a “skill” must apply to, and facilitate the mastery of, more than one discipline. As such, it aids in the flexibility necessary to higher-level learning as well as potential professional adjustment to new responsibilities in a changing economy.
Students must complete at least one tagged course in each of the four areas of writing, oral communication, quantitative reasoning, and information literacy. These tagged courses are designed to meet the following outcomes:
Students must complete ENG 106 plus one upper-division (300/400 level) writing intensive W tagged course as designated by major.
Students will be able to:
- Demonstrate an understanding of writing as a process involving critical thinking by submitting evidence of prewriting, interim drafts, and final writing with obvious revisions.
- Produce multiple writing assignments and a range of types of writing for appropriate purposes and audiences such as short, informal, ungraded works and longer, more formal documents.
- Utilize academic and disciplinary conventions correctly, including appropriate language, audience accommodations, formatting, citations, and so forth.
Oral Communication (O)
Students must complete one O tagged course.
Students will be able to:
- Produce a range of types of oral communication for appropriate purposes and audiences such as short, informal, ungraded oral assignments to longer, more formal presentations.
- Demonstrate a competent understanding of the complex process of verbal and nonverbal communication.
- Develop, organize, and express messages competently.
- Analyze and evaluate audiences and content appropriately.
- Demonstrate a knowledge of and commitment to communication ethics.
Quantitative Reasoning (Q)
Students must complete one Q tagged course (in addition to the mathematics proficiency).
Students will enhance their ability to do one or more of the following:
- Apply arithmetic, algebraic, geometric, algorithms and/or statistical methods to modeling and real-world problem solving.
- Interpret mathematical models such as formulas, graphs, tables, and schematics and draw conclusions from them.
- Determine the limitations of mathematical and statistical models within a particular context.
- Demonstrate mathematical reasoning skills and/or formal logic for developing convincing arguments.
Information Literacy (I)
Each major will designate one appropriate I tagged information literacy course which students will be required to complete.
Students will be able to:
- Demonstrate an understanding that information may be defined, stored, and organized in different ways in different disciplines.
- Demonstrate an ability to access and use discipline-based information resources appropriate to the discipline.
- Demonstrate the ability to evaluate information sources and determine the appropriate use of information.
- Demonstrate the ability to incorporate disciplinary information sources into significant research-based assignments.
- Demonstrate an ability to correctly use disciplinary citation conventions.
Courses tagged for value development encourage students to articulate, confront, wrestle with, and develop their own values in the designated areas. The values areas reflect the College values of community and social responsibility.
Students must complete at least one course in each of the three values development areas of intercultural global engagement, intercultural domestic engagement, and engaging social responsibility. These courses are designed to achieve the following outcomes:
Intercultural Global Engagement (G)
All students need to complete one course tagged for G content.
Students will be able to:
- Demonstrate an understanding of culture as a dynamic construction of values, norms, and practices.
- Understand the effects of increasing global interdependence on nations, cultures, and institutions.
- Analyze the differences and similarities between their own cultural norms and those belonging to people of different nations and/or cultures.
- Develop skills to communicate and collaborate effectively across cultural boundaries.
Intercultural Domestic Engagement (D)
All students need to complete one course tagged for D content.
Students will be able to:
- Demonstrate an understanding of culture in the United States and the relationship between individual values and dominant norms.
- Analyze the way that dominant cultural norms affect social and political actions.
- Critically examine structures and organizations that contribute to the establishment of societal norms and relationships.
Engaging Social Responsibility (S)
Beginning instruction in this area is embedded in the First-Year Seminar and the Inquiry into Ethics and Justice area of knowledge. In addition, all students will complete one course tagged for S content.
Students will be able to:
- Construct a view of citizenship and its responsibilities in diverse democratic societies and the global community.
- Articulate their own values and demonstrate how these values reflect or respond to society.
- Demonstrate knowledge of varied responses to issues of social justice.
- Respond to civic, service, or social justice issues.
All Elmhurst College students participate in an Experiential Learning opportunity, which integrates course-based learning with related experiences outside of the classroom.
Students may participate in Experiential Learning in many ways, including domestic and international travel courses, service-learning courses, internship courses, clinical work, and student teaching. Many students also complete their Experiential Learning in-service programs like Habitat for Humanity, or off-campus research, where skills and values developed in the classroom may be applied in an off-campus setting.
Students and guests may search for courses by Experiential Learning on BlueNet under “Search for Courses” (choose Course Type “Experiential Learning” when searching).
Many students complete their Experiential Learning through a non-course-based program, titled EXP 250. For more information about each program, please contact the person listed in parentheses.