Purpose of the General Education Core Curriculum

The Saint Leo University General Education Core Curriculum is simply not the totality of courses offered but rather an organization of the types and possible sequences of students' experiences leading to a rich and meaningful baccalaureate degree. The combination of structure and depth assures that Saint Leo University undergraduates will likely share a number of educational experiences.

The CORE provides a template for how faculty can better prepare undergraduates for the 21st Century. It provides definition for the types of issues with which we hope students and faculty will engage and for the type of educational leadership that Saint Leo will provide. It also provides a basis for ongoing development of courses and curricula adapted to the preparation of students for a challenging and rapidly changing environment.

The new CORE challenges not only students but also faculty and academic departments. It prompts us to think further about how we teach our areas of expertise and makes it our collective responsibility to convey what excites us in our disciplines. Furthermore, we must be able to pass on that excitement not only to those to whom our subject matter comes easily or who have powerful pre-professional reasons for working hard and wanting to master what we teach, but always to those who are wary of our disciplines and the knowledge they embody.

The Saint Leo University CORE includes FOUNDATION COURSES in writing, computer literacy, mathematics, and wellness; PERSPECTIVES COURSES that provide students with an introduction to a liberal arts education and learning in the arts, humanities, social and behavioral sciences; a SENIOR CAPSTONE COURSE that ties learning in the major together with general education.

The goal of the CORE is to provide undergraduate students with an understanding of our Benedictine values and Catholic traditions while focusing on the liberal arts and sciences and introducing students to an understanding of the knowledge needed to succeed in college and in lifelong learning. Finally, the skills set begun in the CORE are extended to the Saint Leo University undergraduate education.

We seek to graduate students who:

  • exhibit skills in learning, writing, reading, critical thinking, technology applications, numerical applications, and adjustment to college lifeexhibit skills in dealing with
  • fundamental human questions regarding the nature of human reality, the ways in which human beings come to know the world and issues of human morality
  • who understand the importance of the general education program, who find the curriculum relevant and who are prepared to become lifelong learners
  • whose employers will indicate a positive satisfaction level with these graduates and their preparation level for suitable employment and/or graduate studies

In the relationship of general education to the major, Carol Geary Schneider and Robert Shoenberg have recently observed:

"As long as general education was conceived predominately as a study or arrangement of subject matter, or breadth, with study in a designated major representing depth, the conventional sharp division between general education and majors made some sense. But with the new educational focus on helping students develop intellectual skills, understand a range of epistemologies and their various strengths and limitations, and increasing their ability to negotiate intellectual, cultural, civic and practical topics and relationships, the assumed separation between general education and the major is no longer useful.

On the one hand, that fraction of the curriculum allocated to general education is simply inadequate for developing, practicing and integrating, at a reasonable level of proficiency, the complex forms of learning important to a contemporary liberal education. On the other hand, the development of those skills and awareness … is just as much the business of the major and just as essential to a baccalaureate level of mastery in a field as it is to general education."