General Education Program
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;
- can apply this knowledge to contemporary social problems and their chosen fields of study.
Listed below are the common graduation requirements (34 credit hours for Business Administration; 36 credit hours for Criminal Justice).
- 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 (MATH 125 or MATH 221)
- Experiential Learning Course* — 1 course
- Applied Arts, Sciences, and Humanities* — 2 courses
- Diversity and Global Awareness* — 2 courses
- Values Conflicts in Society — 2 courses
- E-portfolio Senior Assessment — 1 course
MACM 108. First Year Seminar. (3) 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.
MATH 125. Quantitative Reasoning. (3) Course based on applying simple mathematics to real world problems. Topics are chosen from, but not limited to, logic, personal finance, quantitative literacy, probability, voting, and problem solving with algebraic, geometric, graphical, and approximate methods.
MATH 221. Statistics. (3) Analysis of statistical theories and techniques and their applied use in professional settings. This course introduces students to descriptive and inferential statistical procedures and probability. At the end of this course students will be able to demonstrate an understanding of basic statistical procedures and probability, analyze data using descriptive, inferential, and elementary probability procedures and explain conclusions about data using statistical methods.
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 each student in consultation with his/her advisor should pick the courses that make the most sense for his/her major.
Approved courses offered in the online program:
BUSA 211. Technology and Society. (3) This course provides a critical examination of the complex interrelationship between society and technology. The course makes students aware of the pervasiveness of technology in our everyday lives, creating and encouraging an understanding of how technology interacts with and is embodied in society. Technology is both the driving force behind societal change as well as the output of our technological imagination. It is this dichotomy that will be examined in this course. Students will learn about how digital tools have led to the development of a high-tech society characterized by customization, individualism, and privatization. The course covers topics such as innovation in the technology sector, Facebook, online surveillance, digital inequality, and immaterial labor.
NSP 207. Explorations in Astronomy. (3) This course is designed for non-science majors; it begins with the history of astronomy and the tools of the astronomer. The course continues with the chemical and physical principles necessary to understand how we know what we know about the universe, galaxies, stars, our solar system, and other aspects of basic astronomy. We will discuss current events relevant to astronomy and learn to identify some objects in the sky.
POLS 203. American Politics. (3) A survey of the main concepts, theories, institutions, and actors in the American political system, including an analysis of the Constitution.
SCWK 101. Introduction to Sociology. (3) An introduction to the general principles of sociology and its subfields, including an investigation into the development of culture and subcultures, the effects of groups and institutions on personal behavior, and structure and process in social interaction.
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 each student in consultation with his/her advisor should pick the courses that make the most sense for his/her major.
Approved courses offered in the online program:
ENGL 204. Novels around the World. (3) A study of the elements of the novel as a work of literature.
ENGL 206. Zombie Apocalypse. (3) This course will trace zombie genealogy from its earliest introduction in horror movies including Bela Lugosi's performance in White Zombie (1932) and George A. Romero's post-war Night of the Living Dead (1968) to present day apocalyptic zombie wars featured in novels and poems and other literature including Max Brooks' Zombie Survival Guide and excerpts from classic works including T.S. Eliot's The Waste Land, George Orwell's 1984, Haitian voodoo zombie lore, African cannibalism accounts, and Center for Disease Control guidelines for surviving a zombie apocalypse. From fictional depictions of zombies with their expressionless eyes, staggering bodies, and carnivorous desires, we will move beyond zombies as mere monsters, re-examining zombie lore through the lens of present day apocalyptic scenarios concerning old disease resurgence, drug addiction effects, increasing wars, violence, and exploring chances for human survival when resources are few and laws are non-existent. In a modern culture dominated by virtual reality and questions about "identity," students will engage in philosophical and ethical discussions about what it means to be fully alive, or human, in an increasingly desensitized society and how individuals would respond if faced with a real-life zombie apocalypse.
SCWK 235. Cross-Cultural Communication. (3) This course is an interdisciplinary class that will examine the way people from different cultures think, speak, and behave based on their value systems, world perspectives, and traditions. The course will increase awareness and understanding of cultures, social norms, and interpersonal communication in a cross-cultural context. Students will learn how to apply the information to address humanitarian issues including ethnic and socioeconomic disparities, to conduct business with cross–cultural competency, and to work with a global population with a sensitivity to their cultural norms.
SCWK 285. Modern Slavery. (3) This course will examine different forms of modern slavery, including sex and labor trafficking, bonded and forced labor, and child labor. It will examine how modern slaves are recruited, modes of transportation, and common forms of exploitation. In this course we will identify patterns of traffickers and trends in the industry. We will also examine the economics of the trade, applicable international laws and policies, and current strategies focused on prevention and response.
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, students 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.
VC 497. E-Portfolio Senior Assessment. (3) The Capstone Project provides an opportunity for students to synthesize and evaluate how they have met the outcomes of the core or general education program. In this course, students put the final touches on their core digital portfolio which they have been developing throughout their tenure in the online program as well as complete internal and external exit exams and surveys. Students complete the course by writing a position paper on a social or ethical problem pertinent to their major area of concentration.