General Education Curriculum
In 2017, the faculty approved an updated General Education Curriculum for Skidmore College. The curriculum maintains Skidmore’s commitment to its philosophy of Creative Thought Matters — and the liberal arts more broadly — by increasing focus on integrative and lifelong learning. The changes will go into effect for the Class of 2024 and subsequent classes.
At the heart of this innovative curriculum is integrative learning — opportunities for students to make connections among the various courses, ideas and experiences of its liberal arts education. Building on Skidmore’s cross-disciplinary First-Year Experience, the new curriculum extends integrative learning experiences throughout four years of learning by introducing a Bridge Experience on Power and Justice in students’ second or third year and a Senior Coda in the final year of study. Surrounding these integrative learning experiences are opportunities to build foundational skills and knowledge, put different modes of inquiry into practice and cultivate new literacies within a student's chosen major.
A liberal arts education, according to the American Association of Colleges and Universities, should prepare students to “deal with complexity, diversity and change.” It should offer students broad-based knowledge about the world (including science, culture and society) along with more focused study of a specific area. It should foster important real-world skills as well as a sense of social responsibility. Skidmore College has developed its curriculum with these goals in mind.
The changes will go into effect for students who enter Skidmore beginning in fall 2020 (i.e., both members of the class of 2024 and all transfer students who enter the College in fall 2020) and for subsequent classes. Students who entered the College prior to fall 2020 will proceed with the current curriculum.
Skidmore’s faculty and the College’s leadership believe it is important to maintain a vibrant curriculum that reflects the ever-changing needs of its students and graduates and is informed by the latest innovations in pedagogy. The new curriculum incorporates feedback received from the Skidmore faculty and from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, which accredits Skidmore. Skidmore anticipates further pedagogical and programmatic changes as new programs and initiatives create additional opportunities for new curricular directions.
The curriculum has about the same number of requirements as the existing curriculum and retains many hallmarks of the existing curriculum, including its First-Year Experience for new students. Many of the changes constitute a new way of reorganizing the existing requirements in order to be more explicit about the goals of Skidmore’s liberal arts education and to highlight integrative and lifelong learning. The curriculum adds a new Bridge Experience on Power and Justice and a Senior Experience Coda. New Applied Quantitative Reasoning and Global Cultural Perspectives requirements replace former requirements and bring greater rigor and depth to the curriculum.
A new Bridge Experience on Power and Justice, taken in students’ second or third year, addresses students’ need to understand diversity, equity and inclusion within the U.S. context, where students find themselves, and to understand the impact of those dynamics on themselves and others beyond the classroom. A Senior Experience Coda, which can be a course or capstone experience, encourages seniors to reflect on how their liberal arts education at Skidmore has prepared them to face the challenges they will encounter beyond graduation. A new Applied Quantitative Reasoning requirement, which students will need to complete by the end of their third year, encourages students to develop essential quantitative skills. A Global Cultural Perspectives requirement provides students an opportunity to explore the global south, indigenous peoples, imperialism, mass migration and other related topics. All students will be required to show proficiency in information literacy, oral communication, technology literacy, visual literacy and writing.
The new curriculum reorganizes the curriculum into four components:
- Integrations: ways of exploring connections among the various courses and experiences that constitute
a liberal arts education. One course is required in each of the following:
- The First-Year Experience.
- The Bridge Experience.
- The Senior Experience Coda.
- Foundations: fundamental skills and knowledge essential to a liberal arts education. One course
is required in each of the following:
- Applied Quantitative Reasoning.
- Global Cultural Perspectives.
- Language Study.
- Inquiries: coursework that ensures breadth in understanding unique perspectives and modes of
exploration. One course is required in each of the following:
- Artistic Inquiry through Practice.
- Humanistic Inquiry and Practice.
- Scientific Inquiry through Practice.
- In the major: a set of requirements that are determined by faculty in each discipline. Although
specific learning outcomes may vary among disciplines, all students will be required
to show proficiency in the following areas:
- Information Literacy.
- Oral Communication.
- Technology Literacy.
- Visual Literacy.
- Writing in the Major