The General Education program constitutes the shared legacy of all MacMurray College graduates. The program is also in a practical sense our job-readiness program because it emphasizes the less tangible skills that employers want from college graduates. This shared curriculum is designed to realize two traditional objectives of a liberal education: the training of the mind and the development of a breadth of perspective, thereby enabling MacMurray graduates to be open to new ideas and yet to be discriminating in their judgment of the merit of those ideas. The courses of this common curriculum are also job-readiness courses that emphasize the development of skills that are critical for success in any field, as well as enable graduates to continue the process of self-education. What distinguishes a liberally-educated person are the same skills that employers value and why employers constantly search for students with those skills. It is why a college degree in the long run is so much more than just an advanced job-training program for the first job.
The program aims to educate students who
- can think critically;
- are effective communicators;
- are knowledgeable about pivotal ideas and ethical insights that have shaped our society;
- will be able to describe major ethical insights and pivotal ideas of human civilizations and associate them with current realities.
Listed below are the common graduation requirements (31 credit hours).
- First Year Seminar — 1 course (3 credit hours; required of new first-year students only.)
- Communication Skills Sequence — 2 courses (COMP 131 and COMP 132)
- Quantitative Reasoning— 1 course
- Experiential Learning Course* — 1 course
- Applied Arts, Sciences and Humanities* — 2 courses
- Diversity and Global Awareness* — 2 courses
- Values Conflicts in Society — 2 courses
- Senior Assessment
*Some majors may specify certain courses or additional courses.
MACM 108. First Year Seminar. (1) A welcome to MacMurray College that includes both the opportunity to study a fascinating topic in depth as well as to participate in co-curricular activities. Topics vary every fall. All sections share workshops, seminars, and other student success activities for a common experience. Required of all new first-year students.
The Rhetorical/Communication Skills sequence (COMP 131, 132) is designed to solidify the oral and written communication skills that students will need throughout their college career and in later life. It should normally be completed during the first two or three semesters at MacMurray. Both courses must be completed with a grade of C or better.
COMP 131. Introduction to Writing and Speaking. (3) A course in academic writing and speaking that integrates critical reading, thinking, writing, and speaking about issues in our culture. It includes grammar review, report and argument writing, and an introduction to research and APA style documentation.
COMP 132. Research, Writing, and Speaking. (3) A continuation of the skills learned in COMP 131, this course focuses on choosing an important contemporary issue, searching academic databases for scholarly peer-reviewed sources on that issue, and using the sources to construct a research paper following APA style as well as presenting results orally. Includes grammar review and group projects.
Quantitative Reasoning Skills
Quantitative Reasoning courses are designed to help students interpret data, make everyday decisions using mathematics, think logically, understand the various contexts in which mathematics can be encountered, and provide the prerequisite knowledge to solve a variety of problems. Students will be placed in courses based on an entrance exam and/or ACT score. Students with a 27 or higher on the ACT Math subtest will have the requirement waived but will receive no academic credit.
- DATA 208;
- FINC 199;
- MATH 125;
- MATH 135;
- PSYC 221.
Supervised experience off campus is not only a way of putting into practice what has been studied in the classroom but also exposes students to practical questions and issues which cannot be simulated in the classroom. Every student must take advantage of such an opportunity (or more than one) but the name may vary. Some disciplines call this clinical experience, field experience, career experience, internship, or practicum, so consult each major for its terminology. Every program builds in and usually requires these opportunities as part of the major. Qualifying for the required experiential work in the field is the obligation of students; unqualified students are not guaranteed a placement and should choose their major and their schedule accordingly.
In addition, there are study abroad experiences which can apply on top of or in lieu of other requirements. Be alert for announcements of study abroad opportunities because they change constantly, and often a particular opportunity will appear only once.
Applied Arts, Sciences, and Humanities
The Applied Arts, Sciences, and Humanities courses are designed to allow students to gain a greater awareness of key ideas within these areas and their practical application to contemporary social, economic, and cultural issues. These courses will help students develop a solid foundation in the methods of critical thinking intrinsic to the arts, sciences, and humanities; an understanding of the relevance of these disciplines to today's world; and the opportunity to apply them to various professional fields of study.
Outcomes — Students will
- analyze and describe key ideas within the arts, sciences, and/or humanities;
- explain select contemporary issues;
- evaluate how key ideas within the arts, sciences, and/or humanities relate to contemporary issues.
There will be a growing list of courses approved to meet the requirement of two courses which apply the Arts, Sciences, and Humanities to each program of study. The important thing to realize is that students in consultation with their advisor should pick the courses that make the most sense for their major.
- ARTS 101, 102, 103, 105, 206;
- ASLA 100;
- BIOL 109, 110, 241;
- BUSA 211;
- ENGL 233;
- HIST 101, 102, 251;
- PHIL 103, 220, 222, 226;
- PSYC 101, 251;
- SCWK 101.
Diversity and Global Awareness
The Diversity and Global Awareness courses are designed to expose students to various issues that have affected the human condition within the complexity and diversity of the global arena. Courses taught from the disciplines of philosophy, religion, history, literature, art, and the sciences will introduce students to alternative ways of looking at contemporary social and cultural problems in both national and international contexts. Courses may address topics related to class, race, ethnicity, gender, sexual identity, and the environment.
Outcomes — Students will
- identify and describe various contemporary issues of diversity through the disciplines of the Arts, Sciences, or Humanities;
- compare and contrast alternative ways humans understand the world and their social relationships;
- evaluate issues of diversity within social and cultural contexts.
There will be a growing list of courses approved to meet the requirement of two courses which apply the Diversity and Global Awareness requirement to each program of study. The important thing to realize is that students in consultation with their advisor should pick the courses that make the most sense for their major.
- BIOL 211, 220;
- ENGL 204, 206, 209, 252, 371;
- HIST 103, 104, 303;
- PHIL 112;
- RELG 219, 238;
- SCWK 235, 285.
Value Conflicts in Society
The Value Conflict courses are designed to introduce students — through the reading of primary, relevant, core texts — to important ethical and value-based ideas that have shaped the Western world and affected political, scientific, economic, religious, and cultural development. The Value Conflict courses aim to acquaint students with the ideas, values, and moral thought that have had a continuing impact in history. They present these themes in a broad context that demonstrate the inter-relatedness of all fields of knowledge and human endeavor.
- describe major ideas, value conflicts, and/or ethical insights of relevant major authors;
- analyze major ideas, value conflicts, and/or ethical insights of relevant major authors;
- reflect on key ideas and themes addressed in primary texts;
- relate ideas of assigned authors to contemporary ethical issues.
VCON 301. Value Conflicts in the Western World: Persons and Nature. (3) Through the reading of primary core texts from the Western Tradition, students will study and discuss works pertaining to the general themes of "Religion," "The State," "The Person," and "The Natural World" from the Classical, Biblical, and Medieval worlds. Prerequisite: COMP 132 and at least sophomore standing.
VCON 302. Value Conflicts in the Western World: Religion and the State. (3) Through the reading of primary core texts from the Western Tradition, student will study and discuss works pertaining to the general themes of "Religion," "The State," "The Person," and "The Natural World" from the Renaissance and Modern world. Prerequisite: COMP 132 and at least sophomore standing.
Assessment Requirement for Graduation
Assessment tells MacMurray how to improve with each successive class of students. Learning the strengths and weaknesses of our programs makes us better, just as we expect our graduates to engage in life-long learning and continual self-improvement.
On Senior Assessment Days all seniors scheduled for graduation complete standardized assessments of the academic skills learned in a liberal arts institution like MacMurray. Recognition is provided to all students scoring above national norms on any part of this examination or on the whole examination. Seniors are excused from classes on Assessment Day.
Support Courses for Academic Success
Developmental courses are designed to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of critical student skills. To use an athletic analogy, a coach does not show a student how to shoot a free throw once without ever practicing it again. A player must perform each required skill repeatedly and under pressure until what they know becomes automatic and can be applied successfully and without hesitation. Practice with coaching develops successful players. No successful player would tell coaches that practice is a waste of time and they only want to exert themselves in the game itself. In the same way, academic success is built on far more than the raw skills which qualified a student for admission to college. The time of a MacMurray student must likewise be used wisely so that academic skills become second nature, not stalling while recalling steps of mathematical processes, reading and rereading to digest a passage, or writing without proper mechanics.
To prepare students for success in MATH 125, COMP 131, and beyond, MacMurray offers three developmental courses. Placement in the courses is determined by the student's record in high school and on placement exams. The courses count in the student's course load and grade point average but not as hours toward graduation.
MATH 091. Essential Foundations in Mathematics. (3) This course provides professional assistance for students in the arithmetic of real numbers; uses ratios, proportions, and percentages to solve real-life problems; and reviews measurement and practical geometry emphasizing applications to perimeter, area, and volume of common geometric figures.
READ 091. Essential Foundations in Reading. (3) This course provides professional assistance to students needing to improve their reading comprehension, vocabulary, pronunciation, and study skills.
COMP 091. Essential Foundations in Writing and Rhetoric. (3) (For students who need to review language skills to be prepared to take COMP 131.) This course provides a review of basic sentence parts, correct grammar and usage, mechanics and punctuation, as well as the use of coordinated and subordinated sentence elements. Writing skills are developed through extensive paragraph writing practice and short essays. Students will learn to write well-developed and clearly organized essays through a process-based instruction method.
Study Skills Course
For certain students on academic probation, the College offers a study skills course. Similar assistance on an individual basis is available at the Center for Learning Excellence (CLE).
MACM 201. Study Skills. (1) This course is designed to support students who are on academic probation through weekly contact, self-assessment, time management planning, focus on accepting personal responsibility, and self-management as well as mastering the Wise Choice process to give students tools to improve their academic performance. Study strategies and self-improvement tips will be explored.