Description of Components


The first-year experience is a high-impact educational practice recommended by AACU’s LEAP program, which describes freshman seminars (sometimes called freshman interest groups) as “programs that bring small groups of students together with faculty or staff on a regular basis. The highest-quality first-year experiences place a strong emphasis on critical inquiry, frequent writing, information literacy, collaborative learning, and other skills that develop students’ intellectual and practical competencies.”

The second set of courses require skills and competencies that best serve students when completed early in a student’s college experience, primarily in the first year, providing a bridge from high school to college-level expectations.

Content and Context:

These courses provide a broad introduction to the ideas and ways of knowing and making knowledge that are essential for a student with a St. Edward’s degree. To help students see connections among these areas, students will select a broad theme that integrates three of these courses. Such courses would be flagged for these themes.


This section reiterates the importance of elements essential to the St. Edward’s mission. Without adding courses, we envision flagging existing courses as meeting these important elements.

Culminating Experience:

The LEAP program provides this description: “Culminating experiences require students nearing the end of their college years to create a project of some sort that integrates and applies what they’ve learned. The project might be a research paper, a performance, a portfolio of ‘best work,’ or an exhibit of artwork.” This culminating experience is completed within the major, although there could be a general education option, if this better serves some students.