According to the Association of American Colleges & Universities, “a truly liberal education is one that prepares us to live responsible, productive and creative lives in a dramatically changing world. It is an education that fosters a well-grounded intellectual resilience, a disposition toward lifelong learning, and an acceptance of responsibility for the ethical consequences of our ideas and actions.” To achieve these broad objectives, Hilbert College believes that they cannot be taught in isolation but must be taught as an integral part of a cumulative, holistic curriculum that integrates into professional training the development of lifelong skills that transfer well to a wide variety of occupations.
As part of these general educational goals, the curriculum is designed to promote the following six objectives cumulatively over the student’s time at Hilbert. All courses will indicate which of the six objectives they are designed to strengthen. Certain required courses will attempt to reinforce all six objectives. Thus, the student will consciously monitor the development of these skills until, in the student’s senior year; the student will register for a capstone experience which will measure the student’s mastery of these six goals.
Students will acquire advanced core skills. These core skills include written and oral communication, critical reading and listening, scientific understanding, quantitative literacy and technological fluency at levels required for personal and professional success in real-world situations.
Students will become interculturally aware and acquire an openness to diversity. Skills necessary for local and global civic engagement in the 21st century include an awareness and appreciation of world cultures and languages, as well as an understanding of non-dominant groups and societies at home and abroad.
Students will acquire effective reasoning and problem-solving skills. These include the development of multiple, sophisticated problem-solving strategies that transcend traditional disciplinary boundaries, promote intellectual curiosity and innovation, and are practiced in individual and team situations with emphasis on ethical reasoning and action.
Students will develop advanced research. These include development of traditional and technology-enhanced research strategies, the ability to recognize the validity of information sources, and the skill to articulate and apply research findings to professional and real-world situations.
Students will develop skills in integrative learning. These skills include collaborative work combining analytical and experiential learning that transcends disciplines, crosses campus and community boundaries, encourages leadership, and blends career preparation with the capacity to apply one’s learning to the opportunities and challenges of the 21st century.
Students will develop the ability to lead an examined life and value the need for lifelong learning. In a rapidly changing world, students will learn that these skills in self-renewal, social and cultural awareness, and ethical reasoning and action are essential personally and professionally for life in the 21st
General Education signifies a program of arts and sciences courses providing students with a broad educational experience. Rather than being focused on majors or academic/vocational specializations, General Education courses are universal and foundational. Typically introductory, they offer students fundamental skills and knowledge in mathematics, English, arts, humanities, physical sciences, and social sciences. Completion of a General Education program is required for a degree. The General Education is comprised of at least one course in mathematics, natural science, social science, American history/western civilizations, civic learning and engagement, humanities, arts, and foreign cultures and language. The modules and the content are meant to meet the following outcomes that align with the American Association of Colleges & Universities, Liberal Education and America’s Promise initiative:
- Oral & Written Communication : Students will be able to develop and express themselves clearly and appropriately both orally and in writing for a range of social, academic and professional contexts. In their writing students will be able to identify when there is a need for information and find and use appropriate sources.
- Scientific & Quantitative Reasoning : Students will be able to reason and solve quantitative problems from a wide array of mathematical and scientific contexts. They will be able to create logical arguments and clearly communicate those arguments in a variety of formats.
- Critical Analysis & Reasoning : Students will be able to critically and systematically gather, organize, refine, analyze, and evaluate information and ideas. Students will be able to draw informed conclusions and judgements about complex topics or issues to gain a better understanding of them.
- Global Learning: Students will demonstrate an understanding of local, national, and global communities by cultivating an awareness of interdependence among different communities, issues within those communities, and organizations and skills that address such issues.
- Integrative learning: Students will be able to make connections among ideas and experiences, synthesize, and transfer learning to new, complex situations within and beyond the campus.