Frequently Asked Questions

  • Why are there diversity and social justice components in this curriculum?   
A central given of this curriculum revision (in other words, a formal charge of our committee) was that we create a curriculum that reflects our unique Holy Cross and liberal arts mission.  Diversity and social justice are central elements of the SEU mission.  For example, the SEU Mission Statement states, “St. Edward’s was founded by the Congregation of Holy Cross, from which it acquired distinguishing characteristics: the courage to take risks, an international perspective, and the commitment to provide educational opportunities for students of varied cultural, religious, educational and economic backgrounds.”  It also indicates that a St. Edward’s education is based on the values of “communicating the dignity of the human person” and “stressing the obligation of all people to pursue a more just world.”
  •  Please provide more clarity on Interdisciplinary Pathways.  How are the pathways determined?  How are the courses chosen to fit within a pathway? 
The specifics of the pathway creation process will be determined in the next phase of general education curriculum development.  We anticipate that this process would be community-driven.  Pathways will be interdisciplinary and have clearly identified standards.  It is recommended that pathways be static so that students can plan for future courses.  There are many models available for this curriculum structure.  The Curriculum Models Group (CMG) found the “Pathways” component of the Core Curriculum at Santa Clara University to be a helpful model: 
  • Please provide more clarity on the Integrations.  

In what way can this mean no additional credit hours are required?  

This requirement could be filled by taking flagged courses in the curriculum, either in one’s major, the general education curriculum, an elective or, in the case of experiential learning for social justice, a co-curricular experience.  Essentially, all of these courses could “double-count” and may even “triple-count.”  

What is the goal of integrations?  

A primary goal of the integrations section is integrative learning or an understanding and a disposition that a student builds across the curriculum and co-curriculum, from making simple connections among ideas and experiences to synthesizing and transferring learning to new, complex situations within and beyond the campus.”  For examples, case studies, and publications about integrative learning, please see  The requirements under integrations intentionally build integration into a student’s experience.  For example, the two writing-rich courses (taught outside of English, Writing, and Rhetoric) should help students integrate writing with their other coursework.  The social justice and social identities requirements are intended to integrate our mission with curricular or co-curricular activities.  For each of these integrations, students will be asked to include a reflection on the integration in their general education portfolio.  The integrations are intended to provide scaffolding of UELOs and deepen learning through repeated encounters with concepts, but in different contexts.

  • Please provide more clarity on the Culminating Experience. 

Is this a replacement for the current Capstone requirement? 

Yes, there will no longer be a required CAPS 4360 and there will be a new culminating experience designed in the major.

What would a culminating experience that does not look like our current Capstone look like?  Who/what oversees this component? Is it in the major?  Do departments have complete control?   What if a major does not want to develop such a course?  

The Association of American Colleges and Universities’ LEAP initiative provides this useful 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/majors.   An oversight committee, composed of faculty from each of the schools, would ensure broad continuity (but not uniformity) among the various culminating experiences.

Tell me more about the Culminating Experience Oversight Committee.  Will the oversight committee be university wide, or schoolbased? How will oversight committee be chosen? How will we implement “fair and balanced” outcomes across schools, or even departments, for such an experience if everyone is doing something different?  Do people on the oversight committee get teaching credit?

The Curriculum Models Group (CMG) determined that some sort of oversight of the culminating experience was important in order to ensure continuity.  The CMG’s general vision was a university-wide committee made up of representatives of each school with loose oversight.  The committee found “Taking Stock of Capstones and Integrative Learning” a useful tool in providing models of major-specific culminating experiences and for institutional support and oversight of such courses.  However, the exact dimensions of culminating experience oversight will need to be worked out by the SEU community in the next stage of curriculum development.  See the Suggestions for the Future document for more on the development of culminating experiences.  

Does it have to be a single 3-credit one-semester course?  Can it be 3+ credits and spread over multiple semesters. 

We envision flexibility in this area.  See the Culminating Experience section of Suggestions for the Future.

Can students who have done research write up their research as a scientific paper and use this? If so, how is teaching credit assigned, because the student’s research advisor would do most of the mentoring work if that is the case. Or, does it need to be a separate project?  

This is one of the issues that will need to be decided in the next phase of the curriculum development.

Will faculty be paid for this?  

We envision most culminating experiences will be taught as classes, with a traditional compensation structure.  There are existing models for addressing single students needing individual oversight, such as the Honors program.

  • To fulfill the quantitative reasoning components, would students take either MATH or COSC?   Where would quantitative reasoning be housed? Can it be satisfied in the major?  

The proposal for the Quantitative Reasoning requirement is for a 3-credit course that satisfies the quantitative reasoning description.  The courses proposed for this requirement will need to demonstrate that they satisfy the learning outcomes of this requirement, and it is envisioned that approval from an oversight committee will be part of the process for establishing such courses (as opposed to being housed in a particular department).  Currently, there is no stipulation for the courses to be housed in a single department or school, and the current description allows for the requirement to be satisfied within a major if such a course fulfills the requirement learning outcomes.  

  • Please elaborate on the language requirement.  
 This is the language in the Bulletin currently. We do not propose a change:
     Students who obtain an undergraduate degree from St. Edward’s University must earn credit for a modern language (that is, a standard dialect of language other than English) at the 2nd semester level or higher. 
     During their first year, students with a high school diploma or GED from the United States must take a placement test in the language studied in high school, learned in the home community or learned in the course of travel and/or residence abroad if they plan to continue study of that language.
     To fulfill the modern language requirement:
Students who place into the first level of a language must complete level 1 and 2 (six credit hours).
Students who place beyond the first level of a language must complete the level into which they place (three credit hours).
Students who choose a modern language not previously studied are not required to take the placement test, and must complete level 1 and 2 (six credit hours).
Students may also use CLEP, IB or AP language credit to complete their modern language requirement.
 The only exception to the above requirement is a student graduating from high school in another country in which the language of instruction in the school was a language other than English. They are presumed to be proficient in another language and are exempt from the requirement. Fluency in that language precludes their taking levels 1-4 in that language.
  • What is Writing II? Does it have to be offered by the schools? Who teaches this?  
Writing is the object of study in this course, which is taught by faculty with training and experience in teaching writing. Like the current Rhetoric and Composition II course, the Writing 2 course will focus on research methods (e.g., formulating a research question, assessing and analyzing secondary sources) and on revision to promote the growth of each individual student as a writer. Extensive teacher feedback creates the one-on-one tutoring that helps students develop as writers. In addition, the course will place an emphasis on activities that promote transfer of writing skills to assignments in future courses. The course was initially described as “writing in the disciplines,” but this term created misunderstanding: writing instructors will not teach disciplinary expectations or content. Instead, students will analyze writing related to the students’ intended areas of study to discover the discipline’s expectations and conventions.
  • I don’t like the title, “ Reexamining America.”  

Titles can be revised.  The faculty teaching this requirement can propose alternates.  

  • Please provide more clarity on the 4-credit “Natural Sciences” requirement.  Does “experiential learning” mean the traditional lab section?  Could it be field work and observations?  Could it be other types of experiences?  By “Natural Sciences,” do we mean a course from the school NSCI (i.e. including mathematics and computer science courses in addition to biology, chemistry, biochemistry, physics, astronomy, and bioinformatics)?  Do we specify the course prefixes? 

The current proposal is for a 4-credit course in the life and physical sciences that includes an experiential learning component.  “Experiential learning” is meant to be inclusive of any activity or practical work where students make observations and/or gather data either in a laboratory setting or in the natural environment (i.e. fieldwork).

  • How will oversight be handled, e.g., for deciding which courses count for what? 

GERC was not given the task of determining the oversight structure of the general education curriculum.  Because the structure of such oversight will be affected by what the curriculum looks like, the oversight model will be determined after a curriculum framework is adopted.  However, GERC anticipates a model in which content experts develop learning outcomes for various curriculum requirements.  Faculty would propose to teach a course by showing how their courses address such learning outcomes.

  • How will general education be assessed? 

Like the issue of oversight, this was not a charge of GERC and is an issue to be addressed in the next stage of curriculum development.  After SEU has an approved curriculum, it can develop ways to assess it.  Please note that Director of Assessment, David Blair, is a GERC member, and the committee has been gathering models of assessment that it can pass along to those charged with development of assessment plans.