General Education at Bluffton College


Bluffton College is a liberal arts college. In addition to courses in the major field of study, the Liberal Arts and Sciences Program provides an integrated program of general education for all students. This core program strives to place the student in an ever-expanding context from individual identity in the First Year Seminar to the global citizen of the Senior Capstone Course.

The program is designed to acquaint the student with current thought and advances in all of the traditional academic disciplines. The Liberal Arts and Sciences Program models how an Anabaptist-Mennonite vision of community can be used to develop responses to issues and concerns. The courses listed below are designed to give students the knowledge and basis for life-long learning needed for the challenges of the 21st century.

The general sequence of courses is outlined below, but the precise sequence of general education and major courses will be determined by each student in consultation with the academic adviser.

Liberal Arts and Sciences Program

Required:
LAS 100 First Year Seminar (3)
ENG 110 College English (3) or ENG 120 Advanced College English (3)
MAT 105 Understanding Numerical Data (2) or LAS 210 Reason and Argument (2)
LAS 111 Integrated Arts (3)
NCS 111 Integrated Lab Sciences 1: Physics/Earth/Space (3.5)
NCS 112 Integrated Lab Sciences 2: Chemistry/Biology/Life (3.5)
REL 200 Introduction to Biblical Literature (3)
LAS 201 Introduction to Social Science (3) or two introductory social science courses (6)
HUM 221, 222 Humanities 1, 2 (3 each)
LAS 301 Issues in Modern America (3)
REL 273 Christian Theology (3) or REL 274 Christian Ethics (3)
LAS 340 Cross-cultural Dynamics (2)
LAS 341 Cross-cultural/Service and Learning Experience (3) or 6 hours of college-level foreign language (6)
LAS 400 Christian Values in a Global Community (3)


Courses
LAS 100 First Year Seminar
(3)
Required of all first-year students during the fall semester of the first year. The course will explore what it is that makes us who we are from a variety of perspectives. Class, ethnicity and race, religious background, gender and many other factors help create identity. Primary texts drawn from psychology, sociology, economics and literature will help students locate themselves in these many contexts.

ENG 110 and ENG 120 College English (3)
Designed to help students improve writing and study skills needed in college. Course level will be based upon skills assessment.

MAT 105 Understanding Numerical Data (2)
Designed to help students understand, interpret and think critically about numerical information. The main focus of the course is concept development rather than mathematical manipulation. Use of graphing calculators will give students experience in handling numerical data. Prerequisite:
MAT 050 or placement into MAT 100 or above.

LAS 111 Integrated Arts (with lab) (3)
The course will present an introduction to the arts as a discipline, as a reflection of the culture and as an expression of the artist. Practice and theory in music, drama and the visual arts and their relationships will be explored. Cross-cultural influences and contemporary themes in art will be considered. In addition to lecture sessions, each student chooses one of the three arts in which to pursue participatory laboratory work.

NSC 111 Integrated Lab Sciences 1: Physics/Earth/Space (3.5)
The first of a two-semester sequence of integrated lab science courses. This course covers physics and earth/space science. Laboratory sessions give students hands-on experience which illuminates topics in the lecture sections. The presentation includes history of the science, present-day understanding of the science and the impact of scientific knowledge on the other sciences and on humankind. Prerequisite:
MAT 105 or placement into MAT 114 or above.

NSC 112 Integrated Lab Sciences 2: Chemistry/Biology/Life (3.5)
The second of a two-semester sequence of integrated lab science courses. This course covers chemistry, biology and life sciences. Laboratory sessions give students hands-on experience which illuminates topics in the lecture sections. The presentation includes history of the science, present-day understanding of the science and the impact of scientific knowledge on the other sciences and on humankind. Prerequisite:
NSC 111.

REL 200 Introduction to Biblical Literature (3)
An introduction to the literature of the Bible with emphasis on the primary text. Students will read and analyze material from a broad spectrum of biblical texts in the effort to understand the main components of the biblical story and the nature of the literature in the Bible. The course will emphasize the ability to read and understand biblical text in a discerning way and to explore the text's potential for shaping a modern world view. Prerequisite:
LAS 100 or placement into ENG 120.

LAS 201 Introduction to Social Science (3)
An exploration of theories about the relationships between an individual person and increasingly complex levels of social integration. The course evaluates different approaches and scientific methods, which generate data used to test those theories. An appreciation of diversity is encouraged as students broaden their knowledge base and sharpen their critical thinking skills. Alternative to this course is two introductory social science courses (
PSY 110, EBA 140, SOC 152, PLS 215 are possible choices). Prerequisite: LAS 100.

LAS 210 Reason and Argument (2)
An introduction to the evaluation of arguments for their validity, logical soundness and ethics and an introduction to the creation of sound and persuasive arguments. Includes the examination of arguments current in political and local discourse, techniques of developing an effective argument and strategies for presenting these orally and in writing. Prerequisite:
ENG 110 or placement into ENG 120.

HUM 221, 222 Humanities 1, 2 (3 each)
The humanities courses are interdisciplinary in character, drawing on the disciplines of history, English, philosophy, art and music. The sequence examines the history of western civilization to the present and acquaints students with questions of fundamental human concern such as: What dynamic has shaped western civilization? What is the "good life?" What is the "good society?" How should individuals think in terms of their relationship to God, the state, other people? Are individuals responsible for their actions? Music and art history will be used to illustrate important cultural themes. The student, it is hoped, will acquire an intelligent frame of reference for Western civilization and confront important issues related to human values. HUM 221, the first course in the sequence, begins with origins of civilization and follows the history of the West through the Renaissance. The second course in the sequence begins with the Reformation and follows the history of western civilization up to the 20th century. Prerequisite:
ENG 110 or 120; HUM 221 is a prerequisite for HUM 222.

REL 273 Christian Theology (3)
The course surveys central doctrines of the Christian faith and develops a few doctrines in more depth. Topics include the nature and work of Christ, the nature of the church, eschatology, religious authority and creation. Emphasis on particular topics may vary. The overall focus of the course is to present these doctrines both from the perspective of the church of the so-called Constantinian synthesis and from alternative church perspectives. Prerequisite:
REL 200.

REL 274 Christian Ethics (3)
The first part of the course demonstrates how much of mainstream ethics reflects the church of the so-called Constantinian synthesis and then provide an alternative church view of Christian ethics. The second part of the course will apply this learning to the spectrum of issues that confront Christians in the modern world. Prerequisite:
REL 200.

LAS 301 Issues in Modern America (3)
Thematic approach to current problems in U.S. society. The goals of the course are to help students understand the complexity of issues, to see how various disciplines analyze problems and arrive at solutions, to learn to read critically and sensitively and to consider ethical implications of the way society chooses to deal with the issues. Prerequisite: 15 hours of general education credit.

LAS 340 Cross-cultural Dynamics (2)
This course develops a framework for understanding and appreciating diversity and different cultures. An interdisciplinary approach draws on the fields of cross-cultural psychology, anthropology and cross-cultural communication. This course prepares students for
LAS 341. Prerequisite: sophomore status. Should be taken right before LAS 341.

LAS 341 Cross-cultural/Service Learning Experience (3)
The college provides a variety of cross-cultural and service learning experiences for students. Through these experiences of immersion in another geographical and cultural setting, students are expected to 1) more fully understand and appreciate a culture other than their own and then reflect critically upon their own location within a cultural context, and 2) examine what it means to be a responsible citizen in the global community and grow in developing an ethic of justice, service and peacemaking.

LAS 400 Christian Values in a Global Community (3)
Provides a forum for interdisciplinary examinations of ethics, community and the environment. Using a seminar format, it aims to help develop a framework for practicing global citizenship by the peace church tradition. Designed to serve as the capstone for Bluffton College’s general education curriculum, this course asks students to integrate their liberal arts studies, cross-cultural experiences and disciplinary perspectives in order to find ethical responses to community problems. Prerequisites:
LAS 301, LAS 341 and senior status.


Cross-cultural requirement

Students meet this requirement by taking LAS 340 Cross-cultural Dynamics and LAS 341 Cross-cultural/Service Learning Experience or electing a minimum of six hours of a foreign language. Note: International students who do not choose the foreign language alternative are required to take LAS 340 but LAS 341 is waived for them.

The majority of students meet their cross-cultural requirement through experiences offered during the May term. These experiences take place in international locations (Central America; Israel/Palestine; Jamaica; Mexico; and Montreal, Quebec, Canada) and in domestic settings (Appalachian Kentucky, Chicago, Maumee and Toledo, Ohio, Miami, San Antonio, Washington, D.C., and in Native American communities in the Southwest). Students may also satisfy the cross-cultural requirement through participation in Bluffton College’s semester-long programs in Northern Ireland and Poland, or through study abroad programs of the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities, Brethren Colleges Abroad (Asia, Europe and Latin America) and the Central American Study and Service (CASAS) program in Guatemala.

For some majors, field internships can be arranged to satisfy major and general education requirements. In special cases, students may petition to meet LAS 341 requirement by directed study. For more information, see the director of cross-cultural programs. Prerequisite: LAS 340.


General education options
LAS 140 Portfolio Development (2)
This course will guide students in preparing a portfolio for submission for college credit based on learning occurring outside the college or university environment.

LAS 200 Forum/Fine Arts Performance (1 hour per year)
Forum addresses and other enriching experiences are a legitimate and essential part of a liberal arts education. Students may register for one semester hour of elective credit per academic year for attending Forums and other approved campus performances (maximum: four semester hours). To receive one semester hour of credit, students must attend at least 35 approved events. It is not necessary to register for this optional credit in order to attend Forums or other campus performances.

LAS 205 Voluntary Service
Students who have participated in voluntary service for a significant period of time prior to attending college or during their college career may apply for academic credit for this experience. Maximum credit granted 12 semester hours.

LAS 390 Independent Study (variable number of hours)


Modified 10/27/00